The key substance that makes humble pumpkin seeds a precious ingredient in antiviral recipes is zinc. You may have heard of zinc these days as a booster of the immune system and its 100% true. Zinc deficiency increases susceptibility to different infections and has been found to block replication (in vitro) in a variety of viruses (aka the virus can´t wreak havoc in the body even if it infects us), most importantly SARS and MERS, which are in the same family as COVID, but also different flu viruses. Also, it is possible that one of the reasons why chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine may be beneficial to fight COVID is their ability to selectively transport zinc and increase intracellular levels.
Pumpkin seeds are also super rich in magnesium, a key mineral which also help up vitamin D levels naturally.
Having said all that, here are my fav 6 ways to eat plenty of pumpkin seeds. Raw is always better, however zinc is pretty heat tolerant and only minimal amounts (less than 10% depending on the variety) will be lost even when cooked in a pressure cooker!
- Top up salads and soups. You can chop them or not. Either way they pumpkin seeds, like sunflower seeds or sesame, are great additions to most salads, especially those with green, leafy veggies. Similar principle applies to soups: The sky’s the limit!
- A seamless way to get decent quantities of pumpkin seeds in a glass without anyone noticing. Goes with everything and hardly makes a difference in terms of flavor.
- Pumpkin seed butter. This is a seriously awesome alternative to almond and peanut butters. I love the texture and taste of this butter very much; it makes a wonderful spread with butter on fresh bread and it’s easy to make at home!
- Pumpkin seed mini cakes. I had to add David Frenkiel´s recipe @gkstories. He makes these beautiful minicakes made of pumpkin seeds that can basically serve as the basis for hmmm everything! David gives 2 very decadent options> avocado raw chocolate mousse and lime yogurt mousse to accompany the cakes with.
- I have had great success using oregano and thyme in meatballs and I mean generous amounts of it (true for burgers too). Combined with lots of onion (it takes away the blood taste) and olive oil, oregano and thyme just blend in a magical way. Just use this basic recipe by @houseofyum and don’t be shy adding MORE oregano and thyme…
- Oregano/Thyme and Chicken. Ok this is a classic combination. Best way I have used it is in a marinade; the herbs really impart a unique flavor to the meat. Another way is to stuff whole sprigs in the chicken before roasting (works great with lemon).
- Pizza topping! Hello convenience & pizza nights! Both oregano and thyme can be used pizza topping, even if it is store-bought (prefer the dry version in this case).
- Beans with oregano and/or thyme. Make any bean stew you love. Chop fresh herbs (or use dried) and add 15 minutes before finishing cooking. Match made in heaven…