Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are flat, dark green seeds. The seeds are available in two forms, viz., with yellow-white shells and without shells. They have a rough, chewy texture with slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Pepitas are available in many forms like raw, raw and unshelled, roasted and shelled, roasted and unshelled etc. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with uncountable health benefits and that’s the reason of their extensive use in medicines and home remedies for ages. These seeds are not only a rich source of proteins, vitamins and minerals, but also contain oil in them, which fulfills the dietary deficiencies in your body. Pumpkin seeds contain both major and trace minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc and manganese. They also serve as a very good source of vitamin B, K, E and folates. It is because of their high nutritional value that they are added in the category of powerfoods.
In addition, they also contain essential fatty acids and rich antioxidants. The four dominant fatty acids are palmitic, oleic, stearic, and linoleic acid. These fatty acids are important for cell metabolism in the body for normal growth, especially of the nerves and blood vessels. They keep the skin and other tissues young and lubricated. Hence all the nutrients present in pumpkin seeds are invaluable for our health and immunity. By adding this magic food in our diet we can boost our energy and can cure many diseases without any side effect. Read top 20 detailed health benefits of pumpkin seeds below and enjoy robust health.
20. Good Source Of Vitamin K
Pumpkin seeds are rich source of vitamin K which plays an important role in helping the blood clot hence gives protection against excessive bleeding. It is important to know that raw pumpkin seeds are richer in vitamin K than roasted ones. 1-ounce pumpkin seeds provide 2mg of vitamin K. This vitamin also plays an important role in keeping our bones strong, hence reduces the chances of osteoporosis.
19. Good Source Of Vitamin E
Vitamin E in pumpkin seeds works as an antioxidant that protects our tissues from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E makes our immune system strong. It also prevents many chronic diseases like liver damage, cancer, dementia and stroke. You would have noticed that many skin products contain vitamin E in them. Ever wondered why? That’s because vitamin E’s main function is to help maintain our body’s cell structure which includes our skin cells too. Pumpkin seeds can be a rich source of vitamin E for your skin health too.
18. Full Of Essential Minerals
Minerals are essential for thousands of our biochemical processes that power our organs to work efficiently. We know that our body don’t make vitamins and minerals itself and is dependent on the diet we take for its mineral requirement. Iron is important for blood building in our body and its deficiency can lead to anemia. Similarly, magnesium as important for our body as oxygen. Without magnesium our muscles and nerve cells can’t function properly. Its deficiency can lead to muscle spasm, high blood pressure, migraines and anxiety. Nuts and seeds are considered the best foods for magnesium and pumpkin seeds are particularly richest source of magnesium.
17. Promote Good Sleep
Raw pumpkin seeds and its powder are known for stress releasing and sleep inducing properties. This is because pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is that amino acid, which our body uses to make feel-good and produces neurotransmitter serotonin which make us relax. Zinc in pumpkin seeds also helps our brain to convert tryptophan into serotonin. Serotonin level is reported low in people who suffer with insomnia.
Health experts recommend that a handful of pumpkin seeds should be taken with any carbohydrate. Carbohydrate helps tryptophan to get absorbed by brain in higher amounts.
16. Reduce Level of LDL Cholesterol in Body
The high level of bad cholesterol in our blood leads to many cardiovascular and coronary artery diseases. It can be fatal if not treated. Pumpkin seeds are natural cholesterol reducers. They are believed to be safer than medicines that are used to reduce LDL cholesterol in your body. Omega- 3 in pumpkin seeds inhibits the development of arteriosclerosis and also help to prevent the recurrence of heart attack.
15. Antimicrobial And Antiviral
Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds powder and pumpkin seed oil all have long been used for their antimicrobial and antiviral benefits. These seeds don’t only kill microorganisms, but also inhibit their further growth. The antimicrobial and antiviral properties are due to some unique proteins present in pumpkin seeds. These seeds are hence useful to stop bacterial and viral infections in our body and make our immune system strong.
14. Good For Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are very beneficial in preventing prostate problems in men. Researches show that pumpkin seed oil decrease the occurrence of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) —a circumstance in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged. These seeds are specially recommended to people who feel trouble urinating due to BPH.
13. Beneficial For Heart And Liver Health
If you throw away the pumpkin seeds after carving pumpkin, then probably you are oblivious of the fact that you are wasting the best natural medicine for cardiac diseases and liver problems. Yes, pumpkin seeds are very beneficial for people who are suffering with heart and liver diseases. By controlling the level of LDL cholesterol in our body, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. These seeds also contain certain important minerals and proteins that strengthen heart muscles and makes our heart healthy to work efficiently.
12. Prevent Kidney Stone Formation
Researches show that by consuming pumpkin seeds as snacks might help avoid kidney stones. Pumpkin seeds not only decrease amounts of substances which encourage the stone formation within the urine but also increase amount of compounds which inhibit stone formation. Furthermore, their diuretic effect is also very helpful for the kidney patients who experience difficulty urinating. Many researchers also confirm that pumpkin seed oil if used regularly, strengthen the weak urine system.
11. Anti-Inflammation Properties
Pumpkin seeds are also used in the treatment and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis because their strong anti-inflammatory properties. Dried pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw as a snack or added to salads to prevent arthritis problem.
10. Used To Kill Parasites
Tapeworms and other intestinal worms are the parasites that live in the human intestine and absorb nutrients from the body hence make people weak and sick. These parasites enter into our body through contaminated water, food and poor hygiene. These worms are usually common in kids because of less immunity. People have been using pumpkin seeds to address this problem because of their anthelmintic and laxative properties for ages. The substance cucurbitins in these seeds paralyze the worms and helps to expel them out. A simple recipe using pumpkin seeds to get rid of intestinal worms is as under:
Take 1 cup (around 130 g) of raw pumpkin seeds in a blender with a cup of fresh yogurt. Alternatively, coconut water or diluted coconut milk can also be used and is very good for intestinal health. Eat this in the morning before the breakfast. You can add honey too to make it yummy.
9. Lowers Depression
Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats that decrease inflammation in the brain cells. They also contain a very important substance called tryptophan, which is an amino acid and combats depression by creating serotonin, melatonin, and other mood boosting neurotransmitters and hormones. The B vitamins in pumpkin seeds relieve anxiety and induce sleep.
8. Protects Against Osteoporosis
Our bones require certain important minerals to stay healthy and strong. The minerals mainly include magnesium, zinc, calcium etc. About 65 percent of magnesium is stored in our bones and it works along with calcium to make bones strong. Since pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc, they are highly recommended to people who suffer with the problem of weak bones. Women after menopause suffer with weak bones and joint problems , they are especially good for elderly women to get rid of bone issues.
7. Most Alkaline-Forming Seeds
If you have acidity problem or any other stomach problem, you’d probably be thankful that pumpkin seeds exist. People nowadays love spicy foods and fast foods that are dangerous acidic meals. To neutralize the negative effect of acidic foods and meals, don’t forget to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet.
Pumpkin seeds improve insulin regulation in diabetic people and prevent some unwanted consequences of diabetes on kidney function. The help in decreasing oxidative stress, which is very helpful for diabetic people in maintaining a proper sugar level in their body. Raw pumpkin seeds are best for this purpose.
5. Helps In Hair Restoration
Because of high proteins and minerals (particularly zinc), pumpkin seeds are also good for your hair. They not only help stopping hair fall, but also restore hair by energizing our hair follicles. They are particularly good for men who lose their hair because of dihydrotestosterone (also responsible for enlarging the prostate in men). Pumpkin seed oil is a natural treatment for hair loss. You can add pumpkin seed oil in your diet by using it on salads and in other recipes. However, many people also use pumpkin seed oil directly to their scalp to nourish their follicles.
4. Rich Omega-3 Source
We all know that omega-3 has uncountable benefits and pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of omega-3. It is also beneficial in treating many psychological disorders like depression, mania and bipolar disorder. Omega-3 also helps in the treatment of asthma. It is also an important ingredient in many skin care products which shows that it is very beneficial for our healthy skin too.
3. Good Blood Builder
Pumpkin seeds contain iron in them without which hemoglobin in our body can’t be formed. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule that comprises our red blood cells, responsible for the transport of oxygen throughout the body from the lungs. Pumpkin seeds are good for all anaemic people as it builds blood in our body.
2. Good For Weight loss
Pumpkin seeds are full of fibers and easily-digestible proteins and hence can be an excellent diet food for people who want to lose weight. For people who want to lose weight, it is good to take a handful of raw pumpkin seeds before breakfast.
Full of vital minerals and vitamins, pumpkin seeds are also beneficial for your healthy skin and hence reduce the signs of early aging. Any nutritional deficiency in our body causes our face and skin look older and dull. These seeds help reduce our nutritional deficiencies and also protect our skins from harsh chemicals and side effects of beauty products and make up. Vitamin A in pumpkin seeds stimulates new skin cell growth and repair the damage cells. Essential fatty acids and vitamin E control the production of oil in skin cells and maintain a proper level of moisture in skin cells.
Some simple, quick serving ideas of pumpkin seeds
- Add seeds to your daily meal, be it vegetables or meat.
- You can sprinkle seeds over your salads. You can also pour pumpkin seed oil on it.
- Add pumpkin seeds in soups.
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of baked items like pizza and pasta.
- Add pumpkin seed powder in cookies, pastries and cereals.
- The shelled pumpkin seeds are tough, stringy and hard to chew which can result in indigestion. Poor chewed seeds can also affect your esophagus.
- Eating too many pumpkin seeds can also cause diarrhea. So excess amount can make problems and should be consumed in moderation.
- Eating rancid pumpkin seeds can also produce free radicals and toxic compounds in your body. So make sure you always consume fresh and high quality seeds.
- Some people are reported to experience constipation after consuming pumpkin seeds. If this happens to you, lessen the amount of consumption.
- Don’t give shelled pumpkin seeds to your pet birds. They can choke their throats.