14 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds!

If you are looking for a simple way to improve your health, pumpkin seeds might be the best way! Keep reading to learn about the health benefits of pumpkin seeds!1

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepita in North America, are the edible seeds found in the pumpkin fruit. Typically, the seeds are flat and asymmetrically oval, with a white outer husk that peels away to reveal a light green color.

Even though extremely small, these mighty seeds are a ‘Nutritional Powerhouse’! They provide numerous nutritional benefits due to their high mineral content! Magnesium, zinc, iron, and other nutrients found in pumpkin seeds provide nutritional value and benefit your health in various ways!

So, are you wondering why you should eat pumpkin seeds?

1. 14 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds!

1.1. Packed with Beneficial Nutrients

Pumpkin seeds contain many essential nutrients, calories, fats, proteins, and dietary fiber. One hundred grams of seeds contain 574 calories, 49 grams of fat, 6.6 grams of fiber, and 30 grams of protein.

Some of the minerals found in pumpkin seeds include calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and others.

Pumpkin seeds also contain varying amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

The fats in pumpkin seeds are mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids2, healthful fats.

1.2. Rich in Antioxidants

One of the key health benefits of pumpkin seeds is that they are a rich source of cell-protective antioxidants.

Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. As a result, eating antioxidant-rich foods can help protect against a wide range of diseases.

Carotenoids and vitamin E are the antioxidants found in pumpkin seeds, and it is believed that the high levels of these antioxidants contribute to the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

1.3. Cancer-Preventive

Pumpkin seed diets have reduced cancer risk in the stomach, lungs, breasts, prostate, and colon. This is because these seeds contain potent antioxidants.

health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash Copyrights 2020

Consuming these seeds was linked to a large observational study’s lower risk of breast cancer3 in postmenopausal women. Other research suggests that the lignans in pumpkin seeds may play an important role in preventing and treating breast cancer4. Pumpkin seed carotenoids were also found to be anti-prostate.

1.4. Protects Bladder and Prostate Health

One of the useful health benefits of pumpkin seeds is that the consumption of pumpkin seeds helps to alleviate the symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Several human studies have found that eating pumpkin seeds reduces BPH symptoms.

This is due to Zinc, which is abundant in pumpkin seeds and helps protect prostate health and lower the risk of prostate cancer.5

Additional research suggests consuming pumpkin seeds or the products extracted from them as supplements may help treat symptoms of an overactive bladder. Pumpkin Seed oil, in particular, is believed to help aid in the treatment and prevention of urinary diseases and disorders. However, there is limited evidence regarding this, and more research is required.

1.5. Improves Heart Health

Pumpkin seeds are extremely beneficial to our cardiovascular health. They are high in antioxidants, zinc, magnesium, and fatty acids, all of which may benefit your heart health and protect them from various diseases.

Magnesium, in particular, helps to lower blood pressure. It also lowers LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Research also suggests that pumpkins’ ability to increase nitric oxide production in the body may be responsible for their beneficial effects on heart health. Nitric oxide aids in the expansion of blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering the risk of plaque formation in your arteries.

1.6. Boosts Immune System

Because of the presence of vitamin E and zinc, pumpkin seeds act as boosters for our immune system, making it yet another one of the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

Vitamin E stimulates the immune system and protects against various infectious diseases. It is also a powerful antioxidant, preventing free radicals from causing harm to our body’s healthy cells.

The seeds’ zinc content, on the other hand, protects our bodies from allergies, inflammation, and invading pathogens, preventing infections and boosting overall immunity.

Therefore, pumpkin seeds have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.

1.7. Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

healthy benefits of pumpkin seeds
Photo by Kate on Unsplash Copyrights 2016

Another health benefit of pumpkin seeds is that they can help lower blood sugar levels. This happens because magnesium aids in the reduction of blood sugar levels and is abundantly present in pumpkin seeds.

So, for people who have diabetes, pumpkin seeds help lower their sugar levels and improve insulin regulation.

1.8. Good for Skin and Bone Health

Your skin can be soft and wrinkle-free, thanks to pumpkin seeds. In addition to this, it also promotes skin health protects it from infections, and keeps it acne-free. So, pumpkin seeds can prove to be a solution for premature aging.

It has been discovered that people who consume magnesium have a higher mineral density in their bones. This lowers the likelihood of bone fractures and osteoporosis6. Furthermore, magnesium is abundant in pumpkin seeds, promoting bone growth and strength.

health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash Copyrights 2018

Magnesium can be found in up to 262 mg per 100 grams of pumpkin seeds. This is enough to meet 65 percent of your daily Magnesium needs! Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to increased inflammation and a drop in calcium levels in the blood.

Thus, pumpkin seeds prove to be good for both your skin and bone health!

1.9. Enhances Hair Growth

Pumpkin seeds are a gold mine of nutrients and minerals that benefit your hair in various ways!

Cucurbitacin7, a unique amino acid found in pumpkin seeds, aids in hair growth. Pumpkin seeds are also high in vitamin C, essential for healthy hair.

They also aid in preventing thinning hair, particularly in men who suffer from baldness caused by an excess of testosterone.

Applying pumpkin seed oil to your scalp or eating a handful of pumpkin seeds on a daily basis will definitely yield results!

1.10. Helps Improve Sleep

Yet another one of the many health benefits of pumpkin seeds is that eating them can help improve your sleep because they are high in tryptophan8, an essential amino acid that our bodies require to prepare for sleep.

The body converts tryptophan into niacin, a B vitamin that aids in the production of serotonin. This is significant because serotonin is a chemical that regulates melatonin levels and aids in sleep. As a result, including more tryptophan in our diet through pumpkin seeds may improve our sleep quality.

In addition to this, zinc and magnesium present in pumpkin seeds also help regulate your sleep cycle and improve sleep respectively.

So, if you have trouble sleeping, try eating some pumpkin seeds before going to bed.

1.11. Supports Male Fertility

According to a study, men with low zinc levels have lower sperm quality and a higher risk of infertility. Pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc, may help to improve sperm quality and support male fertility.

Pumpkin seeds are also high in antioxidants and other nutrients that can help to maintain healthy testosterone levels and overall health.

All of these factors, taken together, may benefit fertility and reproductive function, particularly in men.

1.12. Beneficial for Pregnancy

The blood volume increases by up to 50% during pregnancy. More red blood cells are needed to develop new life inside the womb, so iron deficiency is a common problem during pregnancy. Including pumpkin seeds, which are rich in iron, in your diet is a natural way to increase your iron intake.

health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash Copyrights 2017

Pumpkin seeds also have a high zinc content which boosts immunity and promotes healthy baby growth. Therefore, consuming zinc-rich foods during pregnancy, pumpkin seeds, for example, is advantageous.

1.13. Helpful for Weight Loss

Pumpkin seeds contain a lot of protein and fiber. They make us feel full for a long time, causing us to eat less and thus consume fewer calories.

Hence, pumpkin seeds help lower our calorie intake, contributing to healthy weight loss.

1.14. Reduces Anxiety and Depression

A quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the daily recommended magnesium dose, an important mineral for preventing depression and anxiety9.

Magnesium helps improve mood as it inhibits the activity of stimulating neurotransmitters while binding to calming receptors, resulting in a more peaceful state. It also controls the release of stress hormones like cortisol.

2. Various Ways of Consuming Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are simple to incorporate into your diet in various ways. And as only a small amount of pumpkin seeds is required daily, you can consume the same in various fun and tasty ways. Here is how it is done!

Health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Photo by American Heritage Chocolate on Unsplash Copyrights 2020

2.1. As Pumpkin Seeds

You can eat pumpkin seeds in their original form, either raw, roasted, or sprouted.

Pumpkin seeds in their shells contain more fiber than unshelled pumpkin seeds, but the shells are chewy and may take longer to break down. So, you may want to consider roasting or sprouting them. With these alternatives, you’ll need to decide whether you want to eat the pumpkin seeds with or without the shell.

Roasted – For roasting pumpkin seeds, toss them into melted butter or olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you want. Cook for 30–40 minutes, or until crunchy and brown, on a baking sheet at 300°F.

Sprouted – Before using the seeds, soak them in water for 12 to 24 hours. All of the nutrients and benefits contained within are becoming more accessible, and the seeds may become easier to digest.

2.2. As Pumpkin Seed Butter

You can also use pumpkin seed butter, which is delicious and convenient. You can eat it with toast and whatever else you want!

Pumpkin seed butter is widely available and is also simple to make at home. Roast the seeds before blending them in a blender or food processor until smooth.

2.3. As Pumpkin Seed Oil

Another way to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet is to use pumpkin seed oil. You can either use it in cooking, for cooked veggies, or on your hair!

Now here are some creative ways to incorporate more pumpkin seeds into your diet:

  • Snack on dry-roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Incorporate pumpkin seeds into the trail mix
  • Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of your cupcakes
  • Mix them into salads and curries.
  • Blend pumpkin seeds into smoothies
  • Incorporate them into homemade sauces
  • Switch peanut butter with pumpkin seed butter
  • Substitute regular or olive oil for pumpkin seed oil

3. Side Effects and Allergy from Eating Pumpkin Seeds

While it is quite beneficial for you to eat pumpkin seeds, anything in excess can indeed be harmful.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming a quarter cup, around 30 grams of pumpkin seeds every day as part of a healthy diet. If, however, you consume more pumpkin seeds than that, there can be side effects.

These side effects include –

  1. Excessive consumption of pumpkin seeds can result in stomach aches, bloating, flatulence, and constipation.
  2. Because pumpkin seeds are high in calories, eating too many of them can lead to weight gain.
  3. Pumpkin seeds aid in the reduction of blood sugar levels. People with diabetes on medication and people suffering from hypoglycemia should consume these seeds in moderation.

Apart from such side effects, you may be concerned about allergic reactions to pumpkin seeds.

health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash Copyrights 2021

Pumpkin seeds are not known to be particularly allergenic, but you may develop an allergy in rare cases. Pumpkin seed allergies can cause headaches, rashes, itching, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. If you are concerned about having an allergy to pumpkin seeds, consult your doctor first, especially if you have never eaten them before.

This brings us to the end of this article! We hope you found it useful in understanding the health benefits of pumpkin seeds. Please let us know what you think in the comments!

4. Frequently Asked Questions

4.1. How many pumpkin seeds should I eat a day?

30 grams or a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds are enough for a day to be consumed.

4.2. What is the healthiest way to eat pumpkin seeds?

Eating pumpkin seeds along with the shells is known to be more nutritious as a person can intake more fiber with the shelled seeds.

4.3. Should we eat pumpkin seeds raw or roasted?

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten in any form a person prefers. Raw seeds are known to carry more nutritional value and roasted seeds may have more tasteful value.

4.4. Do pumpkin seeds reduce belly fat?

Yes! Pumpkin seeds contain protein, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients which provide energy to do good physical activities. It, also, helps in controlling sugar. Therefore, pumpkin seeds can help in reducing belly fat.

4.5. Can I eat pumpkin seeds and their skin raw?

Yes, absolutely! There is no harm in eating pumpkin seeds raw and it tastes delicious that way as well.

  1. Lestari, Beni, and Edy Meiyanto. “A review: the emerging nutraceutical potential of pumpkin seeds.” Indonesian Journal of Cancer Chemoprevention 9.2 (2018): 92-101. ↩︎
  2. Mattson, Fred H., and Scott M. Grundy. “Comparison of effects of dietary saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipids and lipoproteins in man.” Journal of lipid research 26.2 (1985): 194-202. ↩︎
  3. Clemons, Mark, and Paul Goss. “Estrogen and the risk of breast cancer.” New England Journal of Medicine 344.4 (2001): 276-285. ↩︎
  4. Waks, Adrienne G., and Eric P. Winer. “Breast cancer treatment: a review.” Jama 321.3 (2019): 288-300. ↩︎
  5. Steinberg, Gary D., et al. “Family history and the risk of prostate cancer.” The prostate 17.4 (1990): 337-347. ↩︎
  6. Rachner, Tilman D., Sundeep Khosla, and Lorenz C. Hofbauer. “Osteoporosis: now and the future.” The Lancet 377.9773 (2011): 1276-1287. ↩︎
  7. Lee, Dhong Hyun, Gabriela B. Iwanski, and Nils H. Thoennissen. “Cucurbitacin: ancient compound shedding new light on cancer treatment.” The scientific world journal 10 (2010): 413-418. ↩︎
  8. Moffett, John R., and MA ARYAN Namboodiri. “Tryptophan and the immune response.” Immunology and cell biology 81.4 (2003): 247-265. ↩︎
  9. Seligman, Martin EP, et al. “The prevention of depression and anxiety.” Prevention & Treatment 2.1 (1999): 8a. ↩︎

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Ananya Sreen

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