Pumpkin seeds are pretty much a perfect food. They contain all the macro nutrients of fat, carbohydrates, and protein in the perfect ratios needed to keep blood sugar stable and give you a slow release of energy. They also pack a high nutritional punch with their vitamin and mineral content and in this post we will discuss the pumpkin seeds top 10 health benefits.

 

Pumpkin seeds are super versatile! 

We have been eating raw seeds for nutrition since we evolved millions of years ago, therefore they are the perfect paleo food and your body will just love them. Add them to anything: they are great in smoothies, on your morning cereal, added as a crunchy topping to soup and salads, or just munch them as a snack any time of day and get yourself a low GI energy boost.

These yummy green seeds from the pumpkin are best eaten raw as heat treatment will not only destabilise their lovely healthy omega fats, but will also destroy many of the nutrients and antioxidants.

Before we start on the pumpkin seeds many benefits here is a breakdown of all the goodies inside just one portion (which equates to about 28 grams – or a handful).

 

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE AND RDA PER 28 GRAMS OF RAW SHELLED PUMPKIN SEEDS:

Minerals:

  • Magnesium – 37% RDA
  • Manganese – 42% RDA
  • Zinc – 14% RDA
  • Iron – 23% RDA
  • Phosphorus – 33% RDA
  • Copper – 19% RDA
  • Vitamin K – 18% RDA

Fiber and Macro Nutrients:

  • CARBOHYDRATES – 5 GRAMS
  • FAT – 13 GRAMS
  • PROTEIN – 7 GRAMS
  • FIBER – 1.7 GRAMS

 

PUMPKIN SEEDS – TOP 10 HEALTH BENEFITS

1. HIGH IN POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANTS

Pumpkin seed’s antioxidants of vitamin E and carotenoids help slow down the aging process both inside and out – which in turn may lower your risk of many modern day diseases and illnesses. Antioxidants help neutralise the free radical damage inflicted on our bodies through environmental toxins, junk foods, trans fats, sugar, smoking and alcohol.

 

Antioxidants are anti inflammatory:

Antioxidants by their very nature are usually anti inflammatory and chronic inflammation is now being hailed as one of the pre-cursers to diseases such as Parkinson’s, some cancers, asthma, allergies, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

 

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants such as colourful fruits and vegetables will not only make you look a million bucks on the outside, but will be doing you an even bigger favour on the inside. Please read here about the highest antioxidant rich foods and start adding them to your diet every day to reap all of these benefits and more.

 

2. REDUCED RISK OF CANCER

woman with breast cancer

 

Pumpkin seeds may lower your risk of prostate, colon, stomach, lung, and breast cancer specifically (especially in post menopausal women).

Studies suggest this is due to the ligons in pumpkin seeds – ligons are certain chemicals found in plants that help with hormone balance, hence the reason why they may be protective against breast cancer.

 

3. A GOOD SOURCE OF MAGNESIUM

The pumpkin seed’s outstanding feature is its magnesium content. In fact it is one of the best natural sources of this vital mineral and is needed in the body for over 600 chemical reactions, and it so happens that many of us in the western culture are chronically deficient.

Low magnesium levels can cause these problems:-

  • Insomnia
  • Mental problems such as anxiety, depression and irritability
  • Muscle and body aches, pains and spazms – back pain
  • Thyroid disorders
  • PMS
  • Infertility
  • Sensitivity
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Stress
  • Coldness of extremities such as feet, hands, and nose
  • Allergies
  • Sugar cravings
  • Dental problems
  • Kidney Stones
  • Gut and stomach problems

 

3. HEART HEALTH

Obviously we all need a healthy heart ticking away inside us and pumpkin seeds contain all the elements to keep yours in tiptop condition, such as antioxidants, EFFA’s, zinc and magnesium.

All of these nutrients combined help lower blood pressure and boost good LDL cholesterol levels; for this reason alone it’s certainly worth adding a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds to your morning cereal.

 

4. WEIGHT LOSS

toned stomach

 

Yep, I said weight loss – even though pumpkin seeds are high in fat they have a very low GI of 10 out of 100. Glycemic index is a measurement for food products that tells you how fast a particular foods sugars/carbs are released into the bloodstream. The lower the GI the better for weight loss purposes – but low GI eating is also pretty vital to everybody as high GI foods are associated with diabetes, obesity, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease.

Being as pumpkin seeds score low on the glycemic index scale they are a perfect weight loss snack, but MUST be eaten in moderation and not with abandon as this generous rule obviously has its limits. Eat any weight loss foods in moderation and always count them towards your daily fat/carb/calorie load, this way you will be sure to lose the excess pounds.

 

Other weight loss foods:

For weight loss purposes adding just one food into your daily diet probably won’t be enough to make a difference. There are many other fat burning foods that you should and can easily incorporate into your diet, and when eaten in moderation every day really do work!

 

5. BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL

This leads me on to the next major benefit of pumpkin seeds as not only are they low GI, making them great for weight loss, blood sugar control, and type 2 diabeties, but their high magnesium content has a double whammy effect on these conditions, elevating them to super food status.

A study involving 27,000 people discovered that those eating magnesium rich diets had a 33% lower risk of diabetes. That’s just the effects of the magnesium alone, without the other major benefit of blood sugar control due to the pumpkin seed also being low GI.

 

6. SPERM QUALITY

one single sperm magnified

One for the guys here: everything about pumpkin seeds is good for sperm as they are high in zinc, antioxidants, and lots of other specific nutrients that contribute to sperm quality and healthy testosterone levels.

Make sure you pack some pumpkin seeds in his lunchbox ladies, especially if you are trying to become pregnant and also to help you have bouncing healthy babies!

 

7. SLEEP

The magnesium in pumpkin seeds is great for relaxing muscles, calming nerves, and ultimately helping you to sleep. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan which converts to serotonin, in turn converting to the sleep hormone melatonin.

Sounds complicated but the bottom line is we need our melotonin hormone to kick in in order to get a good nights kip. And being as so many of us are so deficient in magnesium it makes sense as to why most of the general population are just not getting the good quality sleep they desperately need – the kind that is needed in order to live a wonderful life full of vitality.

 

Other sleep inducing foods:

You would however need more than one serving of pumpkin seeds to reap the full benefits, which is why if you have problems with sleep it is good to add other sleep inducing foods such as miso, wholegrains, broccoli, lettuce, bananas, cherries and almonds.

There is no need to just stuff these in last thing at night, you can eat them all day long and the effects will come together when your body is ready to sleep. Fear not, eating these foods in the day won’t actually make you fall asleep at the office desk but will just make you feel more calm relaxed.

 

8. ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND CHRONIC STRESS

All of these problems can literally ruin your life. Depression I know from bitter experience, is probably the worst and when you’re hanging out there in the dark it can be hard to know what to do and where to turn. It is vital you understand the benefits of good nutrition and exercise to help fight these mental disorders.

 

Vital nutrients are needed to combat depression and anxiety:

Pumpkin seeds, due to their high magnesium and mineral content, plus their low GI rating, are just one fantastic food out of many that you can add to your diet if you want to ease depression and anxiety. This, along with a low GI diet in general, omega 3 fish oil supplements, and CRUCIALLY a good exercise plan, preferably with some kind of weights or resistance training, will most definitely help.

 

Do specifically resistance training!

I say resistance/weight training specifically because this type of workout will release a cascade of feel good endorphins into your system more quickly than anything else – and is the first thing I do if I ever feel my depression trying to sneaking up on me. It literally stops it in its tracks!

If you’re suffering depression and anxiety you will benefit immensely from these things alone – this cannot be stressed enough, and you should take steps to make yourself follow these instructions no matter how much you don’t at first feel like it!

To recap – do these 3 things:-

 

9. GUT PROBLEMS

The fiber content in pumpkin seeds as in other high fiber foods, is extremely good for digestive health and the gut in general. Fiber keeps the colon healthy and keeps everything running smoothly, and also drags all the toxins and impurities out of your system which will contribute to a beautiful glowing complexion.

keeping the body detoxified with high fiber foods and other detoxification foods is the cornerstone of good health and a strong immune system. When you have that then you have it all in health terms as a strong immune system keeps you thriving and well.

 

10. EASY TO ADD INTO YOUR DIET

ciabatta bread with pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds have the major plus of being highly transportable for on the go snacks, anytime, anywhere, and they can easily be added into most meals. Add them into your breakfast muesli or oatmeal, baking, onto salads, or anything else you can think of, just use your imagination. They have a savory taste that goes with everything AND they are yummy to boot!

 

 

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Stefanie Taylor

I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

24 Comments

Arun Sabharwal · 05/04/2018 at 10:42 am

Hi Stefanie
Thanks for great information. I keep on visiting your website to enhance my knowledge about plant blasted diet. I never used to take pumpkin seed as I was informed about high-fat contents. I never knew anything about Glycemic index. Thanks for sharing. I suppose now Pumpkin food can replace late night snacking safely.

    Stefanie Taylor · 05/04/2018 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Arun, I’m really flattered you are visiting my site to enhance your plant based knowledge as this is the exact reason I created it – for people who are starting out or learning about plant based eating.

    Yes, there is a lot of fear about fats, but they are all so different as on one end of the spectrum you have the unhealthy trans fats like those found in margarines, vegetable oils and fried foods, and then on the other end you have the healthier raw fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds etc. It’s true that they will still make you gain weight if you eat too much of them, but I guess the point is they should be used as a replacement for unhealthy fats and not added on top. If you use them in this way and in moderation the you cant go wrong.

      Sylvie · 14/04/2018 at 3:26 pm

      Yes! I agree! I enjoy nuts and seeds as a before bed snacks and it is so important to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy fats! Stefanie, I really enjoy your website, keep up the good work!

        Stefanie Taylor · 15/04/2018 at 2:23 pm

        Hi Sylvie, thanks so much for the compliment I really appreciate it. I also eat nuts and seeds before bed as they are low carb and still fill you up until the morning. I’m one of those people who just has to have a bedtime snack and these are perfect!

Christina · 05/04/2018 at 12:13 pm

I absolutely love pumpkin seeds, especially the raw ones. I knew they were healthy, but I didn’t realize how healthy. What’s your favorite way to eat them?

    Stefanie Taylor · 05/04/2018 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Christina, yes I love them too, they actually taste great I think, and very moreish – I have to rein myself in on them ha ha. I usually have them on my breakfast cereal as I find they are a good boost of nutrients to help get me going in the morning, but other than that I add them onto my salads or just eat them as a snack with a piece of fruit (sometimes dried fruit if I’m doing a workout or need the energy). I find adding fruit just makes it a more wholesome snack, plus eating some fats or protein with fruit (especially dried) helps to slow down the sugar release making them lower GI. So good for weight loss!

      Christina Piccoli · 05/04/2018 at 5:24 pm

      I don’t know why I never thought of adding them to my breakfast I usually add walnuts to my oatmeal but I think pumpkin seeds could be great. Thanks for the suggestions!

        Stefanie Taylor · 05/04/2018 at 6:03 pm

        No problem Christina, but walnuts are fab too, in fact I did a whole post on them if you would like to have a look

Simon · 05/04/2018 at 12:14 pm

Hey Stefanie, I had heard pumpkin seeds were a nutritious form of protein but had no idea of their additional health benefits you mention here.
My wife always places a handful of pumpkin seeds into the blender whilst making our kiwi, spinach & banana smoothie – sounds strange but tastes fab, however now I understand the many benefits pumpkin seeds provide, this addition really does intensify the healthiness of our smoothie creation.

Anything that helps reduce the risk of cancer, delivers weight loss, and controls blood sugar levels we take note of nowadays, however I was ignorant to the benefits pumpkin seeds have with regards to controlling anxiety and depression.
What a super-food – Thanks for informing me.

Simon.

    Stefanie Taylor · 05/04/2018 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Simon, that smoothie you speak of sounds delicious! Kiwis are one of my favorite fruits, plus they have twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange, which is great. Since I researched this article I have made an added effort to eat a handful a day too. Being a plant based eater as I have been for the last year, I have to make sure I get all my nutrients and pumpkin seeds help deliver that. I’m glad you enjoy them too. and thanks for your comment.

Melissa · 08/04/2018 at 10:01 am

Hi Stefanie,
Thanks for your well researched posts. I’ve learnt new things from your post which is wonderful because I do have an interest in nutrition and have been progressively trying to improve my diet to go back to natural foods, and making as much as I can from scratch.

I’ve always eaten pumpkin seeds, and even take them to work as a snack with some sunflower seeds and almonds. I wasn’t aware of their high magnesium content which is an added bonus. I’ve only recently discovered the huge benefits of magnesium so it’s great to hear that pumpkin seeds are so packed full of magnesium.

    Stefanie Taylor · 08/04/2018 at 10:38 am

    Hi Melissa, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and it’s great you are interested in nutrition as it’s something that can literally change your life (it certainly did mine). It’s all about taking things one step at a time and making small changes gradually which will add up to big changes long term.

    Yes, magnesium is something that most of us are deficient in and it can be causing all sorts of problems that we are unaware of so getting enough is very important. I’m all for getting as many nutrients as possible from the food we eat as opposed to supplements as it is much better absorbed that way, however this only really works well on a really high antioxidant and nutrient rich diet so make sure you’re getting everything you need.

    You may also like my post about antioxidants and where to get them as you say you are interested in nutrition

Soga · 08/04/2018 at 10:27 am

A very thorough write-up on the benefits of Pumpkin seeds Stefanie, thanks for sharing. I will give them a go!

    Stefanie Taylor · 08/04/2018 at 10:40 am

    Thanks, I am glad you found the post helpful, and I hope you like pumpkin seeds when you try them. Make sure you buy the pre-shelled type or you will have a nightmare trying to eat a decent amount of them.

Chad · 08/04/2018 at 11:15 am

Great article! I never knew Pumpkin seeds were so good for you. Thank you for writing this, it taught me a lot about my health and gave me inspiration to eat better.

    Stefanie Taylor · 08/04/2018 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Chad, yes they really are great huh? I eat a handful every day now, especially since researching them for this post. I’m glad you have been inspired to eat healthier as that is the point of my whole website so I’m glad it’s working ha ha. Good luck!

Lace · 08/04/2018 at 12:46 pm

Wow Stephanie, pumpkin seeds are amazing! I’ve been looking for ways to naturally increase magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin k consumption and here it is! I’ll be snacking on these with my children now. Thank you writing this detailed and valuable article.

    Stefanie Taylor · 08/04/2018 at 8:42 pm

    Hey there, you’re welcome and I’m happy you have learnt something from my post. It’s great that they have all those nutrients in one hey? Definitely good for the kids as they make a great portable and filling snack, plus full of the nutrients that growing kids need. You could also grind them in a coffee grinder and add to the kids breakfasts and smoothies etc if you want other ways of getting them to eat them. Hope that helps.

Felix · 08/04/2018 at 1:27 pm

Hi Stefanie, thanks for the detailed information on pumpkin seeds.
I will put it on my next shopping list for sure.

    Stefanie Taylor · 08/04/2018 at 8:38 pm

    Hi Felix, thanks for reading and I’m glad you found the post helpful, I hope you find that you like them when you buy them.

sarah · 08/04/2018 at 5:56 pm

Wow, wow, wow, this is such a great and useful post. I never knew before that pumpkin seeds have that much benefits. I usually use to throw them away when I buy pumpkin. Thank you so much for letting us know, I will share this useful posts with all my friends and family. You always share great and useful articles, thank you so much.

    Stefanie Taylor · 08/04/2018 at 8:36 pm

    Yes, you can probably quite easily dry the seeds you get directly from the pumpkin, though it may be a bit of an arduous process as you will have to hull them all because they are in a hard shell, and you definitely wouldn’t want to eat that! You can actually buy them pretty cheaply already shelled so it’s probably worth doing that to try them first. They are very popular here in Britain and a staple in most peoples cupboards so we eat them a lot.

Fred · 08/04/2018 at 6:28 pm

Great post Stefanie and just think I grow pumpkins every year and throw the seeds away, not anymore. One question what’s the best way to eat them dry or raw?

    Stefanie Taylor · 08/04/2018 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Fred, yes you should definitely eat those pumpkin seeds from your pumpkins, though to be honest I don’t really know how you would go about preparing them straight from the pumpkin as it would mean an awful lot of work hulling them etc.

    Also, you can dry them out in a very low oven as that will also keep them raw. Raw foods, especially nuts and seeds, are so much healthier as the goodness from the oils can be lost in the heating process, so always buy raw nuts and seeds as opposed to roasted when possible.

    You may want to buy some first to check that you like them before you go to the effort of doing them yourself, they are usually pretty inexpensive to buy, even the organic ones. Good luck, and do let me know how you get on.

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