Zinc is getting a lot of attention right now for improving immune function, but I was interested in this important mineral long before that and discovered that pumpkin seeds are an excellent source. But I wasn’t impressed with their flavor plain, so I started searching for recipes and eventually modified a different recipe into my own delicious AND nutritious creation below!!
You’re probably wondering if something so nutritious can actually taste good, and I am here to tell you that this one satisfies my very high sweet tooth standards. I have zero guilt when I eat it, and neither should you. Read on to learn why!
Coconut oil – I know, I know some people still haven’t gotten the message that there are indeed healthy fats! Coconut oil is just one of them, and it not only provides a source of healthy fat but is also antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. I’m not personally a fan of plain coconut oil, but it tastes oh so good in this recipe.
Pumpkin seeds – These are an excellent source of zinc. In addition to supporting immune function, did you know that it is also related to hormone balance? Yup! There is a lot of research linking zinc to male fertility (because men need adequate zinc to produce testosterone), and in women it is related to progesterone levels. But that’s not all that pumpkin seeds are good for. They’re also a great source of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and they provide necessary fiber for good digestive health too!
Cocoa (or Cacao) powder – Plain, this stuff is bitter, but mixed with some wisely chosen ingredients, and it is not only delicious but more nutritious than you might realize! Cocoa powder is an amazing source of manganese, copper and magnesium and also packs a punch with fairly high amounts of iron, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium too. But the benefits don’t stop there. Cocoa powder is one of the highest sources of polyphenols, which are a component found in plants that are quickly gaining attention for their potential benefits to improve things like cholesterol, blood sugar, bone, brain, and skin health. Plus, cocoa powder is a good source of fiber too.
Real maple syrup – Maple syrup is not only delicious, but it also provides B vitamins as well as lots of antioxidants, zinc, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. The other bonus with maple syrup is that it is lower on the glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause a big spike in blood sugar like refined sugar.
Collagen – I love collagen for gut health (my favorite is from Perfect Supplements). It not only helps with gut healing but also provides a great source of protein and amino acids. While I don’t mind the taste of it mixed with just water, I know some people hate it. But in this recipe, it is completely tasteless.
Pink Himalayan sea salt – This is another ingredient that some people today are still afraid of. But we actually NEED salt! The key is that it needs to be a healthy, unrefined salt like Pink Himalayan so that we can also get all the other minerals that come along with it. Sodium is so important to help balance fluid levels in our bodies, to produce adequate stomach acid, and for blood pressure balance. I always tell my clients to salt to taste because everyone’s needs are different, and your body will tell you what it needs.
Now, onto the recipe! Enjoy!
Delicious (and Healthy!) Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Bark
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cocoa or cacao powder
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1 scoop collagen
- 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- Pink Himalayan salt (to taste)
- 1 tbsp almond butter (optional)
- Melt coconut oil in a small sauce pan over low heat.
- Once coconut oil is melted, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder, collagen, maple syrup (and almond butter, if using).
- Stir in pumpkin seeds.
- Pour into parchment-lined pan or baking sheet.
- Sprinkle on salt to taste.
- Place in freezer until frozen, about a half hr. If your container doesn't have a cover, you can break into pieces and store in a container with cover once frozen.
Denise Brusveen is a Certified Women's Herbal Educator and Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner and holds a Master of Science degree with a research emphasis in reproductive physiology. She is passionate about helping girls and women to become informed about holistic options to overcome health challenges related to their hormones.