Pumpkin Seeds

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!

  1. Eat them raw! Combined with other seeds and nuts are a fantastic mini snack (makes a great pair with apples) for the whole family, which makes a wonderful solution you can keep in your purse to save your kids from junk food when you have nothing else in hand.
  2. Raw cake base. Perhaps this is the most ingenious way to incorporate loads of pumpkin seeds in yummy desserts that are only good for you. Audrey Snowe @unconvetionalbaker is probably the most seasoned expert on creating this kind of treats. I love her Pumpkin seed butter ice box cake and the Raw berry lime cheesecake. In fact, its better to explore her whole website, which is full of amazing recipes…
  1. 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! 
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.

Oregano & Thyme

  1. The simplest way to use oregano and thyme is raw in salads, either fresh or dry will do. It gives an instant dash of flavor to most vegetables without dominating the dish. Greek salad with dried herbs is a classic…
  2. Fresh oregano pesto (or thyme). I have to admit I never tried this, but as soon as I saw the recipe I put it on the top of my to-do list for this week! It’s an incredible idea and a brilliant way to take advantage of the protective power of these herbs. And…. you also get to use garlic, one of the star antivirals from last week! Check out the recipe by Donna from Whole Food Bellies.
  1. 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…
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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…

Photo Credits

Photos by chuttersnap and Ante Hamersmit