Though raw pumpkin seeds are synonymous with Halloween, in reality they can typically be found at any time of the year. Check with your local farmers market or organic grocery store. You probably bake pumpkin seeds after retrieving them from the pumpkin you or your children are carving. If you've ever wondered if you can eat them raw, keep reading.
Safety of Raw Pumpkin Seeds
In general, there is usually no questions regarding the ability to eat roasted pumpkin seeds. These items have been consumed for years, with really no adverse side effects noted by researchers. However, the question that arises is whether or not it is safe to eat pumpkin seeds that are raw. In reality, there is no difference between raw and roasted pumpkin seeds. Unlike meat products, which may contain bacteria that should be killed before consumption, pumpkin seeds are not exposed to these same diseases.
Even if the pumpkin did for some reason come in contact with a surface that was contaminated, you are not eating the flesh of the pumpkin--you are eating the seeds, contained within the product. In addition, roasting pumpkin seeds does not significantly change the makeup of the seeds in any way; it simply removes some of the moisture from the seed. Therefore, there is no good reason why you should not eat raw pumpkin seeds.
Nutrition of Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Now that we have determined that it is, in fact, safe to eat raw pumpkin seeds, you must understand why. In fact, you should eat raw pumpkin seeds. Like a number of other types of similar seeds, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of dietary protein. Protein is important not only in keeping your hair, skin and nails shiny and healthy, but adequate consumption is essential in maintaining your muscle mass. Without enough muscle, your metabolism would slow, and you would experience significant weight gain.
Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat has actually been found to reverse some of the damaging effects of saturated and trans fats, and may produce decreases in cardiovascular disease, stroke and even some types of cancer. However, unsaturated fats are still fats, and because of this are relatively high in calories. Be sure to eat pumpkin seeds only in moderation in order to prevent weight gain.
How to Eat Raw Pumpkin Seeds
The easiest way to eat raw pumpkin seeds is simply to remove them from the pumpkin, wash them, and enjoy them. However, pumpkin seeds can also be added to salads, pastas and even meat dishes. Experiment with different recipes in order to discover your favorite way of preparing pumpkin seeds.