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What Are The Benefits Of Eating Pumpkin Seeds?

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What Are The Benefits Of Eating Pumpkin Seeds? Hyderabd040-395603080 October 21, 2019

Don’t throw away the seeds after the Thanksgiving meals. Save them

Pumpkin seeds, or pepito, are mini reservoirs of nutrition. They contain unsaturated fatty acids, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, essential amino acids, and phenolic compounds. Snacking on these seeds may help manage diabetes, heart disorders, muscle/bone pain, hair fall, and acne.

Explore the therapeutic and tasty side of these seeds in the following sections. Scroll down!

Why Should You Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo L.) are natural reserves of fats and proteins. They are rich in oil (50%) too. Palmitic (≤15%), stearic (≤8%), oleic (≤47%), and linoleic (≤61%) fatty acids make up the oil (1).

Hence, sunflower seeds fall into the category of nutritious oil seeds, along with sunflower, soybean, safflower, and watermelon seeds (1).

Pumpkin seeds are growing popular as a rich source of nutrition. They are being sold as a snack mixed with various nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

The high levels of oleic and linoleic fatty acids in pumpkin seeds may reduce the risk of heart diseases. They possess fair amounts of minerals like potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and copper (1), (2).

Moreover, these seeds contain significant amounts of antioxidants in the form of phytochemicals (1), (2).

Studies prove that these elements may combat gastric, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers (1).

Go through the next section to know what pumpkin seeds do to your body. You can also find suitable scientific evidence for these benefits.

How Do Pumpkin Seeds Benefit Your Health?

Pumpkin seeds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-arthritic, and antidiabetic properties. Extensive research also linked the consumption of these seeds to lower the risk of cancer and UTIs.

1. May Possess Anticancer Properties

Folk medicine used pumpkin seed extracts to treat kidney, bladder, and prostate disorders for centuries. The active molecules, like cucurbitin, inhibit the rapid growth of cancer cells (3).

Experimental studies noted about 40-50% of growth inhibition in prostate, breast, and colon cancer cells. This could be due to the presence of estrogen-like molecules (phytoestrogens) in pumpkin seeds (3).

Compounds like lignans and flavones alter the expression of genes mainly involved in the prevention/management of breast and prostate cancers.

2. May Nourish And Repair Skin

May Nourish And Repair Skin Pinit

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Pumpkin seeds and their oil are excellent skin care agents. The bright orange pigment-producing molecules, called carotenoids, have anti-aging effects. They scavenge free radicals that cause premature aging of the skin (4).

Vitamins A and C in the seeds boost the production of collagen. Collagen helps in wound healing and keeps your skin young and wrinkle-free. The oil has omega-3 fatty acids and ß-carotene. These components are potent anti-inflammatory agents (4), (5), (6).

Using pumpkin seed oil as a topical agent can treat acne, blisters, and chronic inflammation of the skin. It also prevents bacterial and fungal infections when used as a scrub, lotion, or when massaged (4).

3. May Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases

Several animal studies demonstrate the positive effects of pumpkin seed supplementation on heart health. Subjects on a high-fat diet showed a significant decrease in the levels of total cholesterol (7).

The seeds could also lower the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) by about 79% in the subjects. The studies also report a drop in the levels of inflammatory markers like nitric oxide (7).

Adding pumpkin seeds to your diet can prevent cholesterol accumulation and hardening of the blood vessels. This prevents various heart issues like coronary artery disease, stroke, etc. (7)

4. May Improve Prostate Health

Pumpkin seeds have a notable protective effect on the prostate gland. The prostate is said to store minerals, like zinc. These minerals prevent issues like prostate enlargement (hyperplasia) induced by testosterone imbalance (8), (9).

As they contain useful amounts of zinc, these seeds and oil have shown to inhibit prostate enlargement. Lab trials suggest that oil-free pumpkin seeds may help manage benign prostatic hyperplasia (9), (10).

By managing hyperplasia, the male subjects would have less urine retention. This would lessen the risk of urinary tract infections (10).

5. May Treat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

The pumpkin seed oil has been useful to treat urinary disorders, especially in men. It does so by inhibiting issues like prostate enlargement. Clinical trials have proved that this oil is well-tolerated (11).

Large doses of about 500-1000 mg/day did not trigger undesirable effects. In fact, when subjects with overactive bladder were given this dose for 6 and 12 weeks, their urinary function significantly improved (11).

6. May Promote Hair Growth

May Promote Hair Growth Pinit

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These seeds contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Along with other micronutrients, these fatty acids aid in improving the texture of dry and brittle hair. Zinc is another factor that boosts the production of hair proteins. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc in abundance (12).

Twenty four weeks of treatment with pumpkin seed oil increased hair growth by about 40% in men with baldness. This could happen because the seeds have active molecules called phytosterols. They inhibit the enzymes (proteins) that breakdown hair protein and cause hair fall (13), (14).

7. May Help Manage Diabetes

Pumpkin seeds exhibit active antidiabetic effects. They possess phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and saponins, that effectively control blood glucose levels. These molecules prevent the inflammation of insulin-producing pancreatic cells (14), (15).

Animal studies show that a diet rich in flax and pumpkin seeds enhances the antioxidant enzyme activity. In subjects with diabetes, these enzymes rapidly scavenge the free radicals and thus lessen the impact on the kidneys and pancreas (16).

Not just the seeds, pumpkin leaves and pulp have also been identified to possess antidiabetic properties. The fruit contains complex carbohydrates like pectin, which may help regulate your sugar levels (17).

Trivia

  • Pumpkin seeds have high levels of magnesium. Eating them or using the oil may relieve muscle cramps, bone pain, arthritis, and inflammation. This mineral also boosts memory and cognition (18).
  • Along with magnesium, pumpkin seeds are also rich in an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan relieves anxiety and promotes sleep. This happens because it triggers the release of a ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter, serotonin (19).
  • These seeds contain high levels of phosphorus. Phosphorus can eliminate the insoluble compounds in food or those accumulated in your body, like calcium oxalate. Thus, consuming pumpkin seeds may help in lowering the risk of bladder stones.

8. May Lower Cholesterol And Risk Of Obesity

High/abnormal lipid levels are linked to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and even death. Eating foods that control the metabolism, accumulation, and excretion of lipids, like cholesterol, is the easiest way to avoid such disorders.

Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of good fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Along with other plant seeds like flax and purslane, pumpkin seeds can prevent body weight gain and cholesterol accumulation in the liver (20).

The strong anti-obesity effect of these seeds is attributed to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, vitamin-E derivatives, and ß-carotene. Linoleic, linolenic, and oleic acids help lower blood cholesterol levels (20).

They also maintain kidney and liver functioning in obese/overweight individuals (20).

To know the distribution of these phytonutrients in pumpkin seeds, check out the next section.

Nutritional Details Of Pumpkin Seeds

NutrientUnit1 cup (64 g)
Proximates
Waterg2.88
Energykcal285
Proteing11.87
Total lipid (fat)g12.42
Carbohydrate, by differenceg34.4
Fiber, total dietaryg11.8
Minerals
Calcium, Camg35
Iron, Femg2.12
Magnesium, Mgmg168
Phosphorus, Pmg59
Potassium, Kmg588
Sodium, Namg12
Zinc, Znmg6.59
Copper, Cumg0.442
Manganese, Mnmg0.317
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg0.2
Thiaminmg0.022
Riboflavinmg0.033
Niacinmg0.183
Pantothenic acidmg0.036
Vitamin B-6mg0.024
Folate, totalµg6
Folate, foodµg6
Folate, DFEµg6
Vitamin A, RAEµg2
Vitamin A, IUIU40
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturatedg2.349
12:00g0.012
14:00g0.014
16:00g1.519
18:00g0.761
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg3.86
16:1 undifferentiatedg0.027
18:1 undifferentiatedg3.83
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg5.66
18:2 undifferentiatedg5.606
18:3 undifferentiatedg0.049
Cholesterolmg0
Amino Acids
Tryptophang0.209
Threonineg0.437
Isoleucineg0.612
Leucineg1.006
Lysineg0.887
Methionineg0.267
Cystineg0.146
Phenylalanineg0.591
Tyrosineg0.493
Valineg0.954
Arginineg1.951
Histidineg0.33
Alanineg0.56
Aspartic acidg1.199
Glutamic acidg2.088
Glycineg0.869
Prolineg0.484
Serineg0.556
Other

Now you know why health-freaks obsess over these seeds.

With all these nutrients, pumpkin seeds taste nutty and delicious. You can nibble on the roasted/toasted seeds as a guilt-free snack.

Here’s how you make them.

How To Prepare Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Snack

How To Prepare Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Snack Pinit

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What You Need

  • Pumpkin seeds: 2 cups
  • Water: 1 liter
  • Salt: 2 tablespoons
  • Unsalted butter, melted: 1 tablespoon
  • Mixing bowl: medium-sized
  • Cookie sheet or Frying pan: medium-large

Let’s Make It!

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. Prepare the pumpkin seeds. Remove any cut seeds and as much of the stringy fibers as possible.
  3. Add 1 liter of water and salt to a suitable vessel and bring it to a boil.
  4. Add the cleaned pumpkin seeds.
  5. Boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Drain the water and spread the seeds on a clean kitchen/paper towel.
  7. Pat the seeds dry.
  8. Transfer the well-dried seeds to a mixing bowl.
  9. Add the melted butter. Toss the seeds to coat with butter uniformly.
  10. Spread the coated seeds evenly on a large cookie sheet or roasting pan.
  11. Place the pan in the preheated oven. You can also do the following steps on a stove.
  12. Roast the seeds for 30-40 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
  13. Stir about every 10 minutes while roasting.
  14. Cool the seeds.
  15. Shell the kernels off and chomp on the seeds.
  16. You can also store them in an airtight container or zip-lock bag for future use. The seeds can be refrigerated in this condition too.

You can also sprinkle these seeds over salads, soups, porridges, breakfast cereal, and pasta.

But, is it safe to eat these seeds every day? If it is not, what is a safe serving size?

Is It Safe To Eat Pumpkin Seeds? How Much Is Safe?

There is no scientific study demonstrating the side effects of these seeds. In rare cases, an overdose may cause constipation and bloating.

Also, not enough research has been done to establish a safe intake limit of pumpkin seeds. Though they are generally considered safe for pregnant and lactating women, there is no scientific basis to prove this.

Therefore, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider for information on the safety and dosage of pumpkin seeds.

In Summary

Pumpkin seeds are natural sources of essential fatty acids, minerals, proteins, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Including them in your diet can nurture your skin and hair. They have beneficial effects on the urinary tract, prostate, and fertility issues in men.

Find out a safe dose range for you from a nutritionist/doctor. Use pumpkin seeds as a snack or garnish in your cooking. Send your queries, comments, and feedback using the section below.

Enjoy the crunch and care pumpkin seeds give you!

20 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Swathi Handoo

Swathi holds a Master’s degree in Biotechnology and has worked in places where actual science and research happen. Blending her love for writing with science, Swathi writes for Health and Wellness and simplifies complex topics for readers from all walks of life.And on the days she doesn’t write, she learns and performs Kathak, sings Carnatic music compositions, makes plans to travel, and obsesses over cleanliness.