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Top 12 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins belong to the family Cucurbitaceae and are grown all around the world as a vegetable. Pumpkin has oval and flat seeds in plentiful and usually they are discarded as agricultural waste (1). But now the seeds have become very valuable because awareness about their nutritional and health benefits is increasing
Pumpkin seeds are available in stores in many forms. The seeds have a distinctive nutty flavour and taste.
The seeds are sold in stores in different forms such as (1) roasted, salted, baked, sprouted, fermented, and pumpkin seed protein concentrate and pumpkin seed protein isolate.
12 health benefits of pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are very good source of energy. 100 grams of pumpkin seeds provide 559 kcal. All the three macronutrients are present in pumpkin seeds and all of them contribute towards the energy value (2). They make a good energy giving snack.
The antioxidant activity of pumpkin is clearly evident from studies conducted (3, 4). According to the literature review pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin seed extracts and pumpkin protein isolate all showed free radical scavenging effect.
Antioxidants have the ability to prevent chronic degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. Pumpkin seeds are good sources of antioxidants.
Good source of dietary fiber
Pumpkin seeds provide a significant amount of dietary fiber. It is essential for digestive system health and dietary fiber also helps in regulating blood glucose and lipid levels. Dietary fiber also helps in weight loss as it absorbs a lot of water and one does not feel hungry for a while.
Helps in regulating blood pressure
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of potassium, 100 grams of seeds provide 809 mg of potassium. And pumpkin seeds have a very low amount of sodium 7 mg. Potassium is an essential mineral and it performs several important functions in the body. Potassium has a protective effect on heart health because it lowers blood pressure (5). They are also low in sodium which is good for keeping blood pressure in control.
Healthy lipid profile
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of fat that is 49 %. The polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content is 20 %, monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content is 16 % and saturated fatty acid content is 8 % (2). And very less or negligible amount of trans fats.
Saturated fats and trans fats have negative effect on heart health and pumpkin seeds have less of these two. PUFA and MUFA have beneficial effects on heart health.
Good source of iron
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of iron and iron is an essential mineral. 9 mg of iron is present in 100 grams of pumpkin seeds (2). Iron deficiency is very common and pumpkin seeds can be one of the foods which can be consumed to deal with iron deficiency.
Pumpkin seeds have been observed to have anticarcinogenic effects. It may be because of the carotenoid pigments in them (3). The phytoestrogens present in pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed extracts were seen to exhibit anticarcinogenic activity (4).
Components in pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin protein are indicated to have an antimicrobial effect (3). Many people are affected by infection because of bacteria and other microorganisms. Consumption of foods that have antimicrobial effect would be a safe way to defend against these microbes.
Choline is a water-soluble B vitamin and is a component of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter of great importance to memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions (6).
63g of choline is present in 100 grams of pumpkin seeds.
Rich source of minerals
Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, selenium and iron (2). These minerals are essential for many functions in the body and pumpkin seeds are good or fair sources of all these micronutrients.
Good sources of vitamins
Pumpkin seeds are good sources of choline, folate, vitamin E, vitamin K and niacin (2). Vitamins have many functions to perform in the body and pumpkin seeds are a good source of many vitamins.
Easy to consume
Pumpkin seeds are available in many forms roasted, salted, baked and in so many other forms. It is easy to consume pumpkin seeds there is no need to make anything special. Pumpkin seeds can be consumed as such as a snack, they can be added to salads, smoothies etc.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with nutrients and health benefits. They can easily be included in the diet. Incorporate pumpkin seeds into your balanced diet on a regular basis.
- Patel, S. (2013) Pumpkin (Cucurbita sp.) seeds as a nutraceutical: A review on status quo and scopes, Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.
- United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Food Composition Databases.
- Syed, Q.A., Akram, M. and Shukat, R. (2019) Nutritional and Therapeutic Importance of the Pumpkin Seeds, Biomed J Sci & Tech Res. 21(2).
- Lestari, B. and Meiyanto, E. (2018) A Review: The Emerging Nutraceutical Potential of Pumpkin Seeds, J. Cancer Chemoprevent. Vol. 9(2).
- Lanham-New, S.A., Lambert, H. and Frassetto, L. (2012) Potassium, Advances in Nutrition. Vol. 3(6).
- National Institutes of Health, Office of dietary supplements (2019). Choline.