Health & Wellness

6 Pumpkin Seeds Benefits That Will Surprise You

This time of year, odds are you’re hearing all about the health benefits of eating pumpkins and clever ways to consume pumpkin. But have you ever looked into pumpkin seeds benefits?

The truth of the matter is that pumpkin seeds offer some pretty incredible health benefits—from promoting quality sleep to even fighting some viral illnesses!

Let’s dive into this topic and learn about the many pumpkin seeds benefits you can get from eating this nutritious and delicious snack food!

 

Pumpkin Seeds vs. Pepitas

Before we jump into the top pumpkin seeds benefits, let’s take a moment to address a very common question: What’s the difference between pumpkin seeds and pepitas?

Believe it or not, pepitas are a specific type of shell-less pumpkin seed found only in certain types of pumpkins, such as Styrian pumpkins, which are grown in Austria.

Conversely, standard pumpkin seeds are more common and come in a shell. These are the types of seeds you find in the pumpkins you purchase for food or carving.

Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and are rich in immune-supporting zinc as well as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and more!

 

Top 6 Surprising Pumpkin Seeds Benefits

Now that you have a basic understanding of the nutritional profile of pumpkin seeds, let’s look at the health benefits they offer.

1. Helps fight inflammation

One of the top pumpkin seeds benefits is their ability to fight inflammation.

According to one animal study, consuming pumpkin seed oil reduced inflammatory markers in rats with arthritis. [1] This effect was attributed to the health-promoting antioxidants found in pumpkin seeds.

Additionally, a 2015 animal study also found that supplementing their diets with phytochemical-rich pumpkin seed oil exhibited anti-inflammatory effects and even lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels. [2]

2. Aids in preventing and fighting viral illnesses

Thanks to their rich zinc content, pumpkin seeds benefits also extend to preventing and fighting viral illnesses. In fact, studies have found that consuming a diet rich in zinc can help relieve cold symptoms and even shorten the duration of a cold by almost half!

In a 2011 study, researchers found that consuming 75 mg of zinc each day reduced cold duration by up to 42 percent! [3]

3. Shown to help slow growth of certain cancer cells

In addition to fighting inflammation and viral illnesses, pumpkin seeds benefits also include slowing the growth of cancer cells.

According to a 2016 study, pumpkin seed extract was found to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast, and colon cancer cells by 40 to 50 percent. [4]

Moreover, due to the lack of androgenic activity it displayed, the researchers noted that pumpkin seed oil applications could be a viable and safe treatment for the prostate.

4. Supports healthy blood sugar levels

Another one of the incredible pumpkin seed oil benefits is that they are known to help support healthy blood sugar levels.

As we discussed above, pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, and this mineral is known to reduce the risk of high blood sugar and the resulting development type 2 diabetes.

According to a major study conducted on more than 85,000 women and 42,000 men, those who consumed the most magnesium had a 33 to 34 precent lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest magnesium intake. [5]

Meanwhile, a 2014 study confirmed that the phytochemicals found in pumpkin seeds contain hypoglycemic (or blood sugar-lowering) effects. [6]

5. Promotes quality sleep

Another one of the ways pumpkin seeds benefits your health is by promoting quality sleep.

A 2014 study conducted on athletes revealed that small doses (1 g) of tryptophan improves both sleep latency and sleep quality. The researchers stated that this level can be achieved by eating about 200 g of pumpkin seeds. [7]

Now, that’s about 1.5 cups, which is a lot of pumpkin seeds to consume at one time. But I would recommend eating a handful if you find yourself craving a nighttime snack to help induce rest and relaxation.

6. Supports healthy blood pressure levels

Finally, pumpkin seeds benefits also extend to supporting healthy blood pressure levels. And this is once again largely due to their magnesium content.

Studies have found that consuming at least 500 mg of magnesium each day can reduce your blood pressure by as much as 5.6/2.8 mm Hg. [8]

Additionally, according to a 2019 animal study, rats who consumed 4 percent of their calories from pumpkin seeds or pumpkin pulp experienced blood pressure levels at least 20 percent lower than those who didn’t consume the pumpkin seeds or pulp. [9]

 

Pumpkin seeds benefits - Dr. Pingel

 

Eating More Pumpkin Seeds

Personally, I love roasting pumpkin seeds after using pumpkin for my Roasted Golden Beets and Pumpkin Soup or after carving pumpkins each Halloween. I’ll then snack on them to support my nutritional intake throughout the following days.

But you can also buy pumpkin seeds or pepitas at your local grocery store and add them to soups and salads to get them into your diet more regularly. Just make sure that you don’t eat too many at one time, because they can cause some digestive discomfort if consumed in large amounts.

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