There are so many fun things you can do with pumpkins including carving them, eating them, and enjoying them as a fall decoration. But, did you know about the benefits of pumpkin seeds? That’s right. Eating raw pumpkin seeds offers many health benefits. It could be worth your time to set the seeds aside next time you clean out a pumpkin.
In this post, I’ll go over the top pumpkin seed benefits and why you need them in your diet. Let’s dive in!
Nutrients in Pumpkins Seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds are packed full of nutrients that help your body. You can save your own pumpkin seeds, or you can buy them from most grocery and health food stores.
You’ll often see them packaged at the grocery store with or without a shell. You’ll recognize the white, oval seeds with their shells, but the seeds without a shell – often referred to as pepitas – are small and greenish-gray.
What is in a raw pumpkin seed? The serving size of raw pumpkin seeds is often considered one-fourth of a cup, which is around 150-180 calories altogether. In that serving, you’ll get a generous portion of protein (10 grams!), healthy fats, zinc, magnesium, potassium, fiber, phosphorus, and iron.
So, what can all these ingredients do for you? Let’s go over the top 10 benefits of pumpkin seeds.
The Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
1. Provides Antioxidants for Your Body
Pumpkins seeds contain antioxidants such as Vitamin E and carotenoids. What do these do?
Vitamin E and carotenoids help optimize your eye health and prevent diseases such as macular degeneration, which is often caused by too much blue light exposure. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help with cardiovascular health.
These antioxidants – especially Vitamin E – also help with skin health, helping to prevent skin cancer and speed up the skin’s healing processes.
2. Provides a Good Source of Magnesium
One of the great benefits of pumpkin seeds is their magnesium content. Many people struggle with magnesium deficiencies and have to take supplements to get the correct amount. Consuming raw pumpkin seeds is a great way to get enough magnesium naturally.
Magnesium is a great way to take care of your muscles and your heart because it helps with blood flow. In turn, you’ll suffer fewer muscle aches and spasms. Improved blood flow in the body helps with so many things. You can help lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Magnesium also increases bone density, which is important for staying healthy and strong. Osteoporosis is a common condition that people experience as they age. Consuming the recommended amount of magnesium through pumpkin seeds could lessen or even reverse this condition.
3. Provides a Good Source of Fiber
What happens when you don’t have enough fiber in your diet? Over a long period of time, you could see a decline in your immune system and heart health since fiber helps regulate the sugar in your body. Short-term symptoms of fiber deficiency include poor gut health. Your bowel will be irritable, and you’ll often feel bloated and sluggish.
A good source of fiber is one of the helpful benefits of pumpkin seeds. You can regulate your bowel movements and improve your whole body with the fiber from pumpkin seeds.
4. Reduces Risk of Some Cancers
Raw pumpkin seeds have also been shown to prevent certain cancers in men and women. According to Prevent Cancer News, pumpkin seeds contain proteins that promote cell death in certain cancer cells. This is referred to as apoptosis.
Regularly consuming pumpkin seeds can prevent many types of cancer including pancreatic, breast, lung, colon, prostate, and stomach cancer.
5. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Reducing blood sugar levels is another one of the benefits of pumpkin seeds, which has been proven by animal studies. If you are diabetic or you struggle with blood sugar levels, you may want to look into consuming raw pumpkin seeds. The seeds help regulate insulin by controlling enzyme levels in the body.
6. Promotes Better Sleep
Pumpkin seeds also help you sleep better. You may have heard of tryptophan as the amino acid in turkey that makes you want a nap after Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan, so eating a serving of them as a nighttime snack could improve the quality of your sleep.
7. Helps Prevent Hair Loss
How could pumpkin seeds help prevent hair loss? According to Healthline, pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which can block enzymes and hormones that often lead to hair loss from the scalp. This occurs most often in men.
The amino acids in pumpkin seeds also help with hair growth and hair strength. The vitamins help with providing shine for those who have damaged hair.
8. Aids in Prostate Health
The same phytosterols in pumpkin seeds that help prevent hair loss also prevent prostate enlargement. Pumpkin seeds work to level hormones, which helps reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men.
One of the benefits of pumpkin seeds is that they are chocked full of zinc. Zinc helps maintain regular prostate function, and it may even help male fertility.
9. Encourages Healthy Pregnancy
Zinc is high on the list of benefits of pumpkin seeds for women as well. When pregnant, women need a healthy amount of zinc to pass to the baby. Zinc helps with developing the fetus in its formative stages, and it also helps the birthing process.
Women often show a deficiency of zinc when pregnant, so adding pumpkin seeds to their diet could encourage a smooth pregnancy and birth.
10. Reduces Depression or Anxiety
As mentioned above, magnesium is one of the top benefits of pumpkin seeds. Magnesium is considered one of the natural treatments for anxiety and depression. It helps control neurotransmitters in the brain, which tell the brain what to think and how to react.
When magnesium regulates neurotransmitters, it helps prevent some receptors from getting overstimulated. This overstimulation and excitement are often linked to anxiety.
Magnesium also helps boost serotonin levels. Serotonin levels directly affect how we feel, so an increased amount of serotonin could help individuals feel more relaxed and content.
Where to Get Pumpkin Seeds
The easiest way to find raw pumpkin seeds is in prepackaged containers at your local health food store. These don’t require any further preparation. You can eat them just as they are out of the bag!
If you have a pumpkin on hand, you can save the seeds from the pumpkin and make your own. Simply remove the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin. You may want to rinse them first if you don’t want to be handling the goop around the shell.
Next, you’ll need to remove the white shells around the seeds. The raw shells can be difficult to digest, so it’s best to remove them for your own safety. (You can eat the shells when roasted.) You can do this by slightly bending the shell until it cracks. Then, peel the shell off, and set the seed aside. Seeds will need to be stored in a cool, dry place.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do raw pumpkin seeds and roasted pumpkin seeds have the same nutritional value?
Not exactly. Some things, like micronutrients, are lost when pumpkin seeds are cooked and roasted. But antioxidants can increase in roasted pumpkin seeds. So all in all, roasted and raw pumpkin both have benefits, but those benefits may differ slightly.
I would concur that raw pumpkin seeds have the most nutritional value, but you can’t go wrong with either.
2. How can I use raw pumpkin seeds in the kitchen?
There are several different ways to use raw pumpkin seeds in recipes. Pumpkin seeds make a great topping for different salads. You can also use them in place of nuts in different desserts, granola recipes, or baked goods. They also make a unique ice cream topping. Why not gain from pumpkin seed benefits in your dessert?
3. Can pumpkin seeds help with weight loss?
Similar to many nuts, pumpkin seeds are higher in calorie content. Eating pumpkin seeds in excess is probably not a good idea. But, when used in moderation, the benefits of pumpkin seeds outweigh the bad. Pumpkin seeds could help you feel fuller, which could help you avoid overeating during the day.
More important than calories, the nutrients and health benefits of pumpkin seeds help your body in so many ways.
Wrapping Up Pumpkin Seed Benefits
It’s time to take advantage of the whole pumpkin. Now that you are aware of the many benefits of pumpkin seeds, adding them to your diet could significantly improve your health in the long run. Whether you mix them in a salad or eat them on the go, pumpkin seeds are a wonderful snack!
Curious to know about other types of pumpkins? Visit our pumpkin posts page.