Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup or a pumpkin pie, there is so much you can do with this wonderful vegetable. Not to forget its uses during the Halloween!
You can use every part of pumpkin be it the pulp, skin and even the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are extremely rich in nutritional values and they provide a lot of health benefits.1 You can eat the pumpkin seeds as a snack or use it in cooking.
Here are 11 ways pumpkin seeds can benefit your health:
1. Can Help Fight Depression
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fats. These healthy fats benefit your health in multiple ways, they help you lower the level of depression and protect you from dementia and Alzheimer disease. Your body needs this essential acid from food as the body cannot produce them. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fats. You can eat the pumpkin seed in its various forms or you can use pumpkin seed oil in your food.2
2. Can Help Build Muscles
Want to get some extra muscles? Well, you need to include more of proteins in your diet as they help build and maintain the muscles.3 An adult woman needs 46 g of protein every day while an adult man needs 56 g of protein daily.4
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of proteins, they contain approximately 18 g of protein per 100 g of seeds.5
3. Can Help Maintain Insulin Level
Pumpkin seeds are rich in Vitamin K. It is an essential compound that helps maintain your insulin level, build bones and help in blood clotting. They are also known to prevent cancers especially the liver cancer.6 Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of vitamin K that can help improve your overall health.
4. Can Improve Digestion
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of fibers. Fibers are essential for a balanced diet, they improve your digestive health and also help prevent diabetes, heart diseases, and some cancers. On an average, an adult body needs 30 g of fiber every day.7 Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber and they consist of over 18 g fiber for every 100 g of seeds.8
5. Can Provide Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Inflammation in your body can cause stiffness, joint pain, redness, and swellings. Yes, you can cure inflammation using anti-inflammatory drugs but they have certain side effects which may cause kidney and stomach problems.9 But you have a reason to cheer, pumpkin seeds can provide anti-inflammatory benefits without causing any side effect.10 These seeds also have a high amount of chlorophyll in them which can help detoxify your body.
6. Can Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
Your body needs cholesterol to make vitamin D and some hormones. However, too much of it can lead to heart and circulatory diseases.11 Out of the two types of cholesterol the LDL are considered harmful if your body has too much of it.
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols which can help lower the LDL cholesterol level. They even contain oleic acid and monounsaturated fatty acids that help increase the level of HDL cholesterol.12
7. Contains Zinc Good For Immunity System
Zinc is an important trace mineral that improves body’s immunity system as well as plays an important role in cell division and cell growth.13 An adult woman needs 8 mg of zinc each day while an adult man needs 11 mg of zinc daily.14 A 100 g serving of pumpkin seeds contains approximately 7 mg of zinc which is almost enough to meet your daily zinc intake.
8. Contains Magnesium Good For Cardiovascular Health
Magnesium helps regulate over 300 biochemical functions in the body, more importantly, it helps maintain a steady heartbeat.15 Magnesium requirement for an adult woman is 310-320 mg every day while for an adult man it is 400-420 mg daily.16 A 100 g serving of pumpkin seeds contains 550 mg of magnesium, which is beyond the daily requirement. Consuming a little more than 50 g of pumpkin seed will help fulfill your daily requirement and keep your heart healthy.
9. Possesses Anti-Microbial Properties
Microbes can pose serious health hazard especially for people with low immunity and the elderly.17 They can cause problems such as measles, polio, colds, malaria, and athlete’s foot.18 Pumpkin seeds contain considerable anti-microbial properties, these are considered to be effective against the harmful microbes that cause sickness.19
10. They May Help You Stay Happy
It may come as a surprise but pumpkin seed may actually help you stay happy. Pumpkin seed has L-tryptophan that can significantly reduce tension, irritability, and mood swings.20 For those looking to quit smoking, try pumpkin seeds, as L-tryptophan can help you quit smoking.21
11. They May Help Improve The Sleep Quality
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid used by our body to produce niacin and serotonin. The serotonin is helpful for getting a good sleep.22 Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of magnesium and they too help improve the sleep.23
How Much Pumpkin Seed You Can Eat
You can eat unshelled roasted pumpkin seeds or shelled roasted pumpkin seeds. The shelled pumpkin seeds offer more nutritional value than the unshelled roasted pumpkin seeds.
You can consume 2 tablespoons (28 g) of pumpkin seed every day.
The shelled roasted pumpkin seed will offer the following nutritional benefits:
- 163 calories
- 2 g fiber
- 8 g protein
- 8% of daily iron needs
- Less than 1 g of sugar
The unshelled roasted pumpkin seed will offer the following nutritional benefits:
- 125 calories
- 5 g fiber
- 5 g protein
- 5% of daily iron needs
- 0 g sugar
- You may be allergic to pumpkin seeds, consult your doctor before consuming pumpkin seeds or its products.
- If you suffer from chronic illness then seek the advice of a professional doctor before consuming pumpkin seeds.
|↑1||Scientific Studies of Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Seed Oil. Pepo Farms.|
|↑2||Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑3||Dietary Proteins. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑4||Protein. The President and Fellows of Harvard College.|
|↑5||Statistics Report: 12163, Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.|
|↑6||DiNicolantonio, James J, Jaikrit Bhutani, and James H O’Keefe. “The Health Benefits of Vitamin K.” Open Heart 2.1 (2015): e000300. PMC. Web. 20 June 2017.|
|↑7||Why is fibre important? NHS Choices.|
|↑8||Basic Report: 12163, Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.|
|↑9||NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). American College of Rheumatology.|
|↑10||Fahim, Atef T., Amal A. Abd-El Fattah, Azza M. Agha, and Mohamed Z. Gad. “Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats.” Pharmacological research 31, no. 1 (1995): 73-79.|
|↑11||Cholesterol – The silent killer. HEART UK.|
|↑12||Gossell-Williams, M., C. Hyde, T. Hunter, D. Simms-Stewart, H. Fletcher, D. McGrowder, and C. A. Walters. “Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study.” Climacteric 14, no. 5 (2011): 558-564.|
|↑13||Zinc in diet. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑14||Zinc. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.|
|↑15||Magnesium in diet. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑16||Magnesium. Oregon State University.|
|↑17||Microbes in Health and Disease (MHD). University Medical Center Groningen.|
|↑18||Micro-organisms. The University of Leicester.|
|↑19||Comparison of Antimicrobial Activity of Both Seeds and Leaves Extract of Two Type of Cucurbita pepo L. (Iraqi&Chinese) 9, no. 4 (2011): 1-8. Accessed June 20, 2017. http://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aId=18927.|
|↑20||L-tryptophan. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑21||Richard, Dawn M., Michael A. Dawes, Charles W. Mathias, Ashley Acheson, Nathalie Hill-Kapturczak, and Donald M. Dougherty. “L-tryptophan: basic metabolic functions, behavioral research and therapeutic indications.” International journal of tryptophan research: IJTR 2 (2009): 45.|
|↑22||Tryptophan. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑23||Chollet, Didier, Paul Franken, Yvette Raffin, Jean-Georges Henrotte, Jean Widmer, Alain Malafosse, and Mehdi Tafti. “Magnesium involvement in sleep: genetic and nutritional models.” Behavior genetics 31, no. 5 (2001): 413-425.|