What is Pumpkin Seed?

Pumpkin seed, also known as pepita, is the edible seed of a pumpkin or certain other cultivars of squash. The seeds are typically flat and asymmetrically oval, have a white outer husk, and are green in color after the removal of the husk. Some varieties of squash contain large, hard seeds that are difficult to remove from the flesh; roasted pumpkin seeds with the husks removed are sometimes called naked pumpkin seeds. The nutrient-rich seed has many culinary uses and is especially popular in Mexico and Central America.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have been shown to have health benefits for heart health, diabetes, and weight loss.

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, or toasted. They can also be used to make a variety of dishes, including soups, breads, and desserts.

Pumpkin Seed

Side Effects & Safety

Pumpkin seeds are generally considered safe to consume. However, some people may experience an allergic reaction to pumpkin seeds. If you have a known allergy to squash or other plants in the same family, you should avoid consuming pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seed oil is also generally safe to consume. Some people may experience an upset stomach when taking pumpkin seed oil supplements. If you experience any side effects, stop taking the supplement and consult your doctor.

Pregnant women and young children should avoid consuming large amounts of pumpkin seeds due to their high content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA can convert into omega-3 fatty acids, which may pose a risk for premature birth and low birth weight.

While pumpkin seeds are generally safe to consume, they should be consumed in moderation. Too much of any food can lead to weight gain and other health problems. As with all foods, it’s best to eat a variety of foods in order to get the most benefit from your diet.

Research Evidence

1. Heart Health

Pumpkin seeds may help to improve heart health. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed oil for 12 weeks significantly lowered blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, a mineral that is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

2. Diabetes

Pumpkin seeds may help to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed powder for 12 weeks significantly improved blood sugar control in men with type 2 diabetes. Another study found that eating two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds per day for three months improved blood sugar control and reduced insulin resistance in women with type 2 diabetes.

3. Weight Loss

Pumpkin seeds may help with weight loss. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed oil for 12 weeks significantly reduced body weight and body fat in people with obesity. Another study found that eating two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds per day for 12 weeks led to a significant reduction in waist circumference and body fat in postmenopausal women. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of fiber, which may help to promote weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and reducing calorie intake.

4. Cancer

Pumpkin seeds may have anticancer effects. One study found that consuming pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil increased the levels of antioxidants in the blood and reduced markers of oxidative stress in prostate cancer cells. Another study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed oil for eight weeks significantly reduced the levels of PSA, a marker of prostate cancer, in men with prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of beta-carotene, a plant compound that has been linked to a lower risk of various types of cancer.

5. Inflammation

Pumpkin seeds may help to reduce inflammation. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed oil for eight weeks significantly reduced levels of inflammatory markers in people with metabolic syndrome. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to reduce inflammation.

6. Kidney Stones

Pumpkin seeds may help to prevent kidney stones. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed oil for 12 weeks significantly reduced the formation of calcium oxalate crystals, which are a major component of kidney stones. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones.

7. Anemia

Pumpkin seeds may help to treat anemia. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed powder for eight weeks significantly improved iron status in women with anemia. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of iron, which is essential for the treatment of anemia.

8. Osteoporosis

Pumpkin seeds may help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed powder for eight weeks significantly increased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

9. Alzheimer’s Disease

Pumpkin seeds may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed powder for eight weeks significantly improved memory and cognitive function in postmenopausal women. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

10. Depression

Pumpkin seeds may help to improve symptoms of depression. One study found that taking a daily supplement of pumpkin seed oil for eight weeks significantly improved symptoms of depression in postmenopausal women. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of depression.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of various nutrients that may offer health benefits. Pumpkin seeds may help to improve blood sugar control, reduce inflammation, and prevent kidney stones. Pumpkin seeds may also help to treat anemia and improve symptoms of depression.