Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, have become a household name in recent years. With their numerous proven health benefits, they have gained substantial ground as a popular health food. Pumpkin seeds are commonly consumed roasted, with a flavor of crunch and fewer calories.
They hold higher nutritional values than many other seeds available in the market and are high in magnesium, copper, zinc, protein, etc. Additionally, they are also rich in providing essential fatty acids that help maintain healthy blood vessels and lower bad cholesterol in your body. Therefore, let’s take a detailed look at the proven pumpkin seeds’ benefits one by one.
What Are Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are flat and oval-shaped edible green seeds found inside pumpkins. They can be separated from the flesh of a pumpkin after cutting it into pieces. After that, rinse the seeds for further use. Pumpkin seeds are popular with the traditional way of consuming them, i.e., consuming roasted pumpkin seeds. They are also incorporated in other recipes with a mix of flavors and spices, oils, and other ingredients to let the beauty of the delicious and crunchy snack surprise your taste buds.
Pumpkin Seeds – Nutrition facts
Although they are evidently smaller in size, they are considered a powerhouse for nutrients and health benefits. They are also rich in protein, unsaturated fats like omega 3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, B2, folate beta-carotene or Vitamin A, etc.
I. Help regulates blood sugar levels: Consuming pumpkin seeds regularly can prevent health problems related to diabetes, high cholesterol, and increased blood sugar levels. Pumpkin seeds usually contain high hypoglycemic properties, which help in soothing and maintaining the blood sugar levels in the body.
II. Helps To Maintain Good Heart Health: As we know, they are rich in healthy fats, fibers, and other antioxidants; they also contain monounsaturated fats and magnesium that help in regulating and controlling blood sugar levels, which in return helps to maintain good heart health. Pumpkin seeds also prevent most cardiovascular diseases and are a perfect addition to a healthy balanced diet.
III. Promoting better sleep cycles: They are infamously a great agent for a good night’s sleep since they contain serotonin, a neurochemical that helps maintain proper sleep cycles. Pumpkin seeds are also high in tryptophan, an amino acid that the body eventually converts into serotonin.
IV. Helps in proper hair growth: Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin, an amino acid known for its properties to provide suitable hair benefits. Additionally, they also have vitamin C. For hair growth, you could also try using onion juice, flax seeds, Hibiscus or other homemade remedies we have mentioned in our article “How To Increase Hair Density“.
V. Perfect for weight loss: People who are keen on fitness or following the path towards weight loss often find it challenging to munch on snacks with low calories and are healthy for their body. Therefore, pumpkin seeds are a perfect alternative since they can keep you satiated for a longer time and are loaded with fibers. They are also a tastier option since they can be consumed in a number of ways.
VI. Packed with antioxidants: We all know that eating a healthy diet every day can definitely reduce the risk of developing cancer. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants that can help in preventing cell damage. Some studies also suggest that these seeds have proven to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in many women who consume pumpkin seeds regularly.
|Amount per 100 grams|
|Calories 446||% Daily Value (based on a 2,000 calorie diet)|
|Total Fat 19 g||29%|
|Saturated Fat 3.7 g||18%|
|Sodium 18 mg||0%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Potassium 919 mg||26%|
|Total Carbohydrate 54 g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber18 g||72%|
|Protein 19 g||38%|
Pumpkin Seeds Benefits for Hair
As we have already learned a little about the various health benefits and nutritional properties that pumpkin seeds hold, it is no surprise that they are also highly beneficial for hair growth and proper scalp treatments. Cucurbitacin, a unique amino acid present in pumpkin seeds, plays a crucial role in nurturing healthy hair strands and repairing the damage caused to the scalp.
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in Vitamin C, which helps maintain the shine and bounce in hair, providing it an essential layer of protection from dirt and pollution. They help curb thinning hair, especially in men suffering from baldness due to excess testosterone. The American Heart Association recommends having a quarter cup (30 grams) of pumpkin seeds every day as a part of a healthy diet for better hair growth.
Additionally, pumpkin seed oil, packed with essential nutrients and minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, Vitamins A, B, and C, etc., can protect hair follicles and increase hair shine. Thus, applying pumpkin seed oil on the scalp helps to soothe your mind, keep the hair follicles strong and provide a lustrous shine to your hair.
Also Read: Best Foundation For Acne Prone Skin
Pumpkin Seeds Benefits for Skin
Interestingly, pumpkin seeds are a great source of squalene, an antioxidant compound similar to beta-carotene. It is present throughout all body tissues and plays a vital role in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays and other similar dangerous radiations.
Pumpkin seed oil or PSO has tremendous skin benefits regarding retaining moisture, fighting free radicals, and maintaining a youthful and glowing appearance. Being rich in zinc and Vitamin E, pumpkin seeds also help improve uneven skin tone, pigmentation, and repair wounds quickly.
They also help in fighting acne spots and controlling oily skin and helps in skin renewal. Due to the minerals and vitamins present in them, pumpkin seeds have higher anti-aging effects as well.
How to Use Pumpkin Seeds for Better Skin and Hair?
1. Add Pumpkin Seeds to Your Diet
One of the best ways to use pumpkin seeds for the best results for your skin and hair is by incorporating them into your daily diet. There are many ways of consuming pumpkin seeds regularly, the most common one being roasting them to enjoy a crunchy snack delight. Here are some other tips to include pumpkin seeds in your diet:
I. You may grind some seeds to add them on top of your salads and curries.
II. Raw/roasted/grated pumpkin seeds are great for garnishing desserts.
III. You can also add pumpkin seeds to the trail mix.
IV. You may blend pumpkin seeds in your smoothies to add more nutrients and a delightful taste.
V.You can also mix them in your homemade sauce recipes.
2. Massage Your Scalp With Warm Pumpkin Seed Oil
Like we discussed previously, pumpkin seed oil has numerous benefits when it comes to skin and hair. Therefore, to use pumpkin seed on your scalp for massaging, you may take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of natural pumpkin seed oil three times per day. Additionally, you may warm up the oil before applying to soothe your mind and massage the roots of your hair better.
You may also find the supplement forms of straight pumpkin seed oil widely available in markets for health purposes. However, make sure you follow the labels to understand the ingredients better, if any mixed, and the proper directions to guide you for their usage. The quality and dosage of each one of these may vary from product to product.
3. DIY Pumpkin Seed Face pack
These seeds can also be used to make easy DIY (do-it-yourself) face scrubs for the skin, for which you will require 1 cup of pumpkin seeds and 1 cup of cut pumpkin to boil in water. After giving it a good boil, you have to strain the water and blend everything well in a grinder. Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants which help in lightening aging marks on the skin.
Now, add about two tablespoons of raw honey (a natural moisturizer) and one tablespoon of cinnamon powder (acts as an excellent defoliant and clears dead skin cells) to the pumpkin squash. Thus, you can now apply the mixture to your face and allow it to dry for about ten to fifteen minutes. This allows for sufficient time for your skin to absorb the valuable hydroxyl acids and antioxidants. Finally, scrub off the mixture on your face well and wash with water.
Are There Any Known Side Effects of Topical Pumpkin Seed Use?
Pumpkin seeds have a high fiber content which often causes rancidity or bloating if consumed in larger quantities. Ensure you store your pumpkin seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place to avoid any issues and improve shelf life. Also, eating larger quantities of pumpkin seeds at once may even cause constipation in some cases.
Therefore, many people consume pumpkin seeds in moderation without experiencing any negatives. One may choose to consume either raw or roasted pumpkin seeds and shells or even eat hulled pumpkin seeds in some instances. However, pumpkin seed shells are chewy, and their edges are equally sharp, which can be felt while chewing. Since they are high in fiber, 1 cup contains almost 12 grams. Fiber helps bulk up stool and prevents constipation in the long run, but eating a lot of pumpkin seeds at once may cause constipation. Pumpkin seeds are also high in calories and fat, with 1 cup serving almost 285 calories and 12 grams of fat at a time. Therefore, too much consumption of pumpkin seeds may end up causing weight gain.
Also Read: Best Cleanser for Oily Skin in India
To conclude, pumpkin seeds can be an effective treatment and preventative for many health conditions. If a person chooses to eat pumpkin seeds daily, they may see visible benefits within a few weeks. However, the results may also depend on an individual’s personal health situation, how often they eat the seeds and their quality. To say the least, one can replace unhealthy snacks with pumpkin seeds and enjoy the vast array of health benefits that they have to offer.
1. How Much Pumpkin Seeds To Eat A Day?
As per the American Heart Association, it is recommended that a quarter cup of daily consumption of pumpkin seeds (approximately 30 g) mixed with a properly balanced diet will suffice the requirement of providing your body with adequate amounts of good protein, healthy fats, fiber, zinc, magnesium. Etc.
2. Can I Eat Pumpkin Seeds During Pregnancy?
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), almost 80% of women are estimated worldwide with an inadequate zinc consumption rate, which is often dangerous since low levels of zinc alter circulating levels of multiple hormones associated with the onset of labor. Therefore, nutritionists recommend additional zinc consumption during pregnancy to improve overall health outcomes.
3. Can Pumpkin Seeds Help with Weight loss?
Pumpkin seeds also help maintain a healthy weight by cutting off on the habit of food intake at frequent intervals as they keep you fuller for longer periods. They also enhance the digestive health of a person. They are rich in Vitamin E, which has proven to strengthen immunity and maintain healthy blood vessels. Thus, pumpkin seeds help with the weight loss regime while also providing the body with essential nutrients.