Pumpkin Seeds Benefits And Side Effects

Pumpkin Seeds Benefits And Side Effects


Ever wondered what pumpkin seeds could do for your body? A simple vegetable, pumpkin (kaddoo) is a common food ingredient in every Indian kitchen. Whether you like to cook it a bit sweet or spicy, pumpkin pulp isn't the only healthy thing about this fruit. The seeds present in the middle of the large sphere also possess several amazing health benefits. Save up on pumpkin seeds and form a face mask or use seed oil to manage hair problems. The nutritional content of these seeds is also ideal to fight diseases.


So, read on to know about the benefits of pumpkin seeds and how to reap them. Some side effects related to its overuse will also be discussed ahead. First, let’s have a look at the nutritional value and basics of pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin Seeds Benefits And Side Effects


Some basic facts about pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a host of several nutrients and are a rich source of potassium, magnesium and vitamin A. Here is what you might like to know about its origin and demographics.


Scientific name: Cucurbita moschata

Family name: Cucurbitacea

Common name: Kaddoo, kaddoo ke beej, squash, safed kaddoo

Sanskrit name: karkaru, kurkaru, karlaru, kakharu

Native region and geographical distribution: Native to the West, pumpkins are grown all over the world for different reasons. India, United States, Mexico and China are the biggest cultivators of pumpkin.

The variety of pumpkin produced in India is different from the giant, orange variety produced in the United States for Halloween. Pumpkin seeds are small, flat edible seeds usually covered by a husk.

  • Nutritional value of pumpkin seeds
  • Health benefits of pumpkin seeds
  • Pumpkin seed dosage
  • Pumpkin seeds side effects


Nutritional value of pumpkin seeds

According to USDA, pumpkin seeds possess the following nutritional values:


Nutritional component;Value per 100 gm

Water:4.5 g

Energy:446 kcal

Carbohydrate:53.7 g

Protein:18.5 g

Fat:19.4 g

Fibre:18.4 g

Calcium:55 mg

Iron:3.3 mg

Magnesium:262 mg

Potassium:919 mg

Phosphorus:92 mg

Vitamin A:369 mcg


Health benefits of pumpkin seeds

Being a rich source of dietary fibres, pumpkin seed aid the process of digestion helping you to prevent digestive disorders. Several micronutrients present in pumpkin seeds help in boosting your overall health reducing the chances of sickness. These seeds are also known to improve cardiac health and have several benefits for the skin and hair. All these benefits and a lot more will be discussed in this section.

  • Pumpkin seeds benefits for the skin
  • Pumpkin seed for the hair
  • Pumpkin seeds for digestion
  • Pumpkin seeds for weight loss
  • Pumpkin seeds for diabetic control
  • Pumpkin seeds for heart health
  • Pumpkin seeds for the brain
  • Pumpkin seeds for men’s health
  • Pumpkin seeds for women’s health

Pumpkin seeds benefits for the skin

Pumpkin seeds are powerful antioxidants, which fight against the oxidative damage caused due to free radicals. This helps in keeping your skin soft, glowing and youthful. Free radicals consist of a reactive oxygen species, which actively interacts with human molecules causing damage; the most common organ affected due to the activity of free radicals being the skin. This damage is manifested as wrinkles, age spots and other signs of ageing.

Pumpkin seeds are a source of essential fatty acids, which play an important role in your skin health. They help in the avoidance of dryness of skin and the subsequent appearance of wrinkles as per clinical evidence. Further, pumpkin seeds may help in reducing the appearance of acne or pimples, by controlling the production of oils. This action is due to the high zinc content of pumpkin seeds.

Some in-vivo animal studies have proved the promising potential of pumpkin seeds in the process of wound healing.

To utilise these benefits and to attain healthy and youthful skin, you can make a pumpkin seed face mask at home. It is found to be beneficial for all skin types.

To make this simple mask, simply combine an equal amount of pumpkin seeds and rose water and store overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, blend the two ingredients along with some honey and your mask is ready to use. After letting it soak in your skin for 20 to 30 minutes, or until it dries, you can wash it off with the help of some warm water.


Pumpkin seed for the hair

Who does not love strong and shiny hair and a head full of mane? But, hair fall is a problem among many. Probably due to bad weather, rising pollution or just genetics. Whatever be the reason, hair fall is very common among both men and women, with men having a higher risk of baldness. This can be managed with the help of pumpkin seed oil. Don’t be astonished, there is sufficient research evidence to support that.


Not only beneficial for hair fall, but pumpkin seed oil has also been found to be effective in the management of alopecia as confirmed by both in-vivo animal studies and human studies. Androgen alopecia, which is the most common cause of hair loss in men and affects more than 70% of the ageing men is manageable with the use of oil derived from pumpkin seeds. When compared with placebo (drugs having no therapeutic effects), patients treated with pumpkin seed oil had a significant amount of hair growth. This conclusion was drawn upon the comparison of pretreatment and posttreatment photographs, self-assessment data and various tests.


Thus, pumpkin seed oil has been deemed as safe and effective for hair fall, which gives you a fair reason to use it.


Pumpkin seed oil is easily available, but, you can make it at home following a simple three-step procedure. Cut through a large pumpkin to obtain its seeds. Clean and dry the seeds and roast them on a stove top until a change in colour is noted. Be careful to not burn the seeds. Lastly, use a mortar and a pestle to crush these seeds to obtain this oil.


To use it for hair fall, you need to dilute it (it is a strong agent) with the help of some green tea to form a solution. Now apply on washed hair and let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing off with water.


Pumpkin seeds for digestion

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of fibre, and fibres, as we all know, are important for the process of digestion. These seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibres. They will help in ensuring proper digestion and will surely provide a relief from constipation. To include pumpkin seeds in your diet, you can safely eat a handful of these seeds with their shell as such or you can lightly toast them in an oven. You can add some oil and salt for a better taste.


Pumpkin seeds for weight loss

Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of fibres, which means that they offer a good satiety index, that is, they make you feel full earlier. This will avoid overeating and unhealthy snacking. Instead of eating a pack of chips, you can enjoy a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds for your evening snack.


Although pumpkin seeds have fats, they are a healthy source of fat and have been time and again suggested to be included in the diet. Several healthy eating guides have mentioned the consumption of pumpkin seeds as an alternative to high-fat foods to battle weight issues. NHS has also recommended its inclusion in the diet.


Pumpkin seeds for diabetic control

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by a dysfunction in the glucose metabolism causing blood sugar levels to elevate. Individuals living with diabetes often face complications and inefficiency with its management.


Researchers have proved that pumpkin seeds have a significant hypoglycemic effect, which means that it helps to reduce blood glucose levels. This is caused due to the activities of the macromolecules present in pumpkin seeds, like nicotinic acid, trigonelline, etc. causing glycaemic control.


These findings imply that pumpkin seeds are good natural agents for achieving diabetes control in patients affected with diabetes mellitus.


Pumpkin seeds for heart health

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of essential fatty acids, which is why they are essential for your heart health. They help in controlling blood cholesterol levels. This function of pumpkin seeds is more pronounced in women than in men and is more effective with the use of pumpkin seed oil. This is because of its specific actions on the hormone oestrogen.


As per a randomised control study, women receiving pumpkin seed oil had a higher concentration of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and lower levels of diastolic blood pressure as compared to the group receiving wheat germ oil.


In-vivo animal studies have additionally demonstrated the role of pumpkin seed oil in the improvement of systolic blood pressure as well, caused due to dysregulation of estrogen levels.


Another set of animal studies have also demonstrated its role in the reduction of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).


While the latter mechanisms are not completely understood, it is definite that pumpkin seeds help in the management of cholesterol levels and its consumption is recommended.


This may further help in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease due to its cardioprotective actions.


Pumpkin seeds for the brain

Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative (causing brain damage) disorder occurring as a result of advancing age. It is characterised by memory loss and diminished abilities in performing everyday activities, which reduces the quality of life of those affected. Deposition of amyloid beta is the main contributor to the pathogenesis of this disease. It increases the production of reactive oxygen species leading to neuronal death.


Being a rich antioxidant, pumpkin seeds help in reducing the population of reactive oxygen species, thereby reversing the damage caused due to the brain. So, adding pumpkin seeds to your diet may be a healthy inclusion for your brain.


Pumpkin seeds for men’s health

Benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlargement of the prostate gland is a common problem faced by many ageing men. This is manifested by frequent urination and such men also face difficulty in urination. Though benign (not associated with the risk of cancer), this condition increases the risk of kidney stones and bladder infections, so, it should be managed at the earliest.


Pumpkin seed oil helps in reducing the symptoms of this condition and also helps in improving the quality of life of those affected. The use of this oil has been safely recommended as complementary or alternative medicine to conventional therapy for the condition.


Pumpkin seeds for women’s health

Above we discussed how pumpkin seeds help in reducing blood cholesterol levels in women. Adding on to those benefits, pumpkin seeds when given to postmenopausal women helped in reducing headache, joint pain and hot flushes, which are common after menopause. So, it can be said that pumpkin seeds helped in improving their experience of menopause. Further, pumpkin seed oil was effective in reducing depression and catered to improve the happiness score of the participants.


So, menopausal women may have a new best friend from now!


Pumpkin seed dosage

Pumpkin seeds are safe when taken orally. A handful of these nuts can be taken in its raw or toasted form. Alternatively, 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground pumpkin seeds can be taken daily. Morning and evening doses of the ground mixture are also consumed.


For healthy individuals, the total daily dosage must not exceed above 10 mg. HoweverI, in case of any health disorders, it is best to consult with your doctor regarding the dosage and form of pumpkin seeds to be taken.


Pumpkin seeds side effects

Though generally safe for consumption, an overindulgence of pumpkin seeds has the following side effects:

Bloating and gas- pumpkin seeds are a rich source of fibre and its consumption without increasing the amount of water intake has this side effect.

Constipation- though involved with reducing the symptoms of constipation an excessive dosage can be counterintuitive.

Weight gain- pumpkin seeds are rich sources essential fatty acids and an increased consumption of fats will undeniably lead to weight gain

A single case study reported the formation of bezoar (build-up of undigested material in the digestive tract) due to excessive use of pumpkin seeds which was immensely discomforting for the patient. 

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