Diet

Pumpkin Seeds: Benefits, Nutritional Value and Weight Loss

The tiny, edible seeds of the pumpkin hold a lot more nutrition than you think. Despite being so tiny, pumpkin seeds are rich in critical nutrients that our bodies need. As a result, pumpkin seeds have numerous health benefits, one of them being weight loss. In addition, pumpkin seeds make our meals healthy while adding their own unique flavour and crunch. 

The available variety of pumpkin seeds in the market come in various packs and flavours. But, not all are the same. The seeds sold in the market are different from those extracted directly from pumpkins. The pumpkin seeds you can buy from the market are without their shells. However, not all these types of pumpkin seeds are equally nutritious. 

While they are suitable for most people, they are not for everyone. In addition, they have their side effects, and they don’t mix well with all medications. However, there are certain things to keep in mind before deciding to eat them.

However, for most people, pumpkin seeds prove to be one of the most beneficial foods.

The Most Healthier Form of Pumpkin Seeds

You can find roasted, salted, flavoured, coated, fried, battered, and even plain variants. However, you should look for the raw, unsalted, plain type. The raw ones have the most fibre and unsaturated fats. While rich in protein and minerals, these raw seeds are low in calories and deficient in sodium, making them extremely healthy.

These green, flat, oval-shaped goodies are the best accompaniments to your diet. They are the best replacement for your mid-day snack. Therefore, they help you attain a balanced and nutritious diet mix leading to a healthy lifestyle. Replacing other snacks like potato chips or fried foods with this powerhouse ingredient is advantageous as it is more nutritious.

Nutritional Value of Pumpkin Seeds

There are multiple reasons why pumpkin seeds are so beneficial for our health. Each serving, which is approximately 30 grams, has about 151 calories. The 30gm serving, roughly one-fourth of a cup, is rich in protein and fibre. Let us take a look its nutritional value of.

One serving (approximately 15gms/1 Tbsp) of Pumpkin seeds offers: 

  • Fibre: 1.5 grams
  • Carbs: 2.10 grams
  • Protein: 3.70 grams
  • Fat: 6.80 grams
  • Sugar: 0.20 gram
  • Vitamin K: 18% of RDI (Reference Daily Intake)
  • Zinc: 23% of RDI
  • Magnesium: 37% of RDI
  • Iron: 23% of RDI
  • Copper: 19% of RDI
  • Manganese: 42% of RDI
  • Phosphorus: 33% of RDI

Pumpkin seeds are abundant in antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B, and folate. In addition, they contain plant compounds along with nutrients that can provide countless benefits for your health.

Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Underrated for a long time, we are now aware that it is a magical food that offers innumerable health benefits. However, to realise its advantages, one must know that it is essential to a balanced diet.

You also must know that the health benefits come from being rich in nutrients that benefit the body while being quite delicious. Therefore, they should be a part of every vegan or vegetarian diet.

Here are some of the myriad health benefits for your health.  

1. A Healthy Route to Weight Loss. 

Eating pumpkin seeds as a snack can aid your weight loss journey.

They are great for burning fat and gaining muscle. They are satiating and rich in zinc and calcium, protein, and fibres.

Fibre helps your digestive system and makes you feel less hungry throughout the day. That prevents you from overeating throughout the day, preventing you from gaining weight.

Zinc helps burn fat and helps you lose weight effectively while offering various other health benefits.

2. Rich Source of Antioxidants

Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids.

Carotenoids are essential to protect you from diseases as they make your immune system stronger. Carotenoids also stimulate collagen to maintain elasticity in your skin.

In addition, the antioxidants in pumpkin seeds protect you from free radicals and reduce inflammation by adding to its list of health benefits.

3. Reduce the Risk of Cancer.

Studies have shown that diets containing pumpkin seeds help reduce cancer risk. Including them in your diet can help you prevent lung, breast, stomach, prostate, and colon cancer. 

Some studies have shown that they help prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women. In contrast, other studies show that these seeds play a small role in treating breast cancer. 

Further studies prove that pumpkin seeds help greatly slow down prostate cancer cells’ growth.

4. Rich Source of Magnesium. 

Many people tend to suffer from magnesium deficiency without it ever being diagnosed. These seeds are a natural source of magnesium to help counter magnesium deficiency. 

It is harmful to consume less magnesium than required as magnesium is critical for controlling your blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart diseases. Magnesium also helps maintain your bone health and regulate your blood sugar levels.

5. Maintain Your Heart Health.

The antioxidants, zinc, and magnesium in this superfood maintain heart health.

In addition, pumpkin seeds help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. These are high-risk factors for heart diseases and need regulation for optimum health benefits.

Adding them to your meals may also help increase nitric oxide in your blood. According to studies, this shows positive effects on the health of our hearts.

Nitric oxide works to expand blood vessels to improve blood flow. As a result, it reduces the risk of plaque growing in your arteries significantly, preventing heart ailments. 

6. Lower Blood Sugar Levels. 

Studies show that another health benefit of this food accompaniment is diabetes management.

In addition, the magnesium content in pumpkin seeds is responsible for lowering the level of blood sugar. Therefore, nutritionists believe that diets containing pumpkin seeds may reduce the risks of diabetes.

7. Improve Sleep Quality. 

Eating a handful before you sleep can help you sleep better. Being a natural source of amino acid, tryptophan, which promotes sleep.

The zinc and magnesium levels in pumpkin seeds also create peaceful sleep patterns. It is critical to improve your sleep quality to maintain your health. It gives you the energy you need to get through your day and is essential.

8. Improve Bladder and Prostate Health. 

These seeds may help you relieve the symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Some research studies even prove that these seeds help with an overactive bladder.

The Adequate Quantity for Daily Intake of Pumpkin Seeds

As mentioned above, the proper serving size for pumpkin seeds is 15 grams. It is one-fourth of a cup. While your intake can go up to half a cup, moderation is key. Eating more pumpkin seeds than you need may cause bloating and stomach issues. 

If taken in moderate quantities, pumpkin seeds help your digestive system significantly. But, with excess consumption, too much fibre can lead to constipation. It might also result in weight gain, the opposite of your goal.

This happens because even if these seeds are low-calorie, they still contain them. Overeating anything can cause the accumulation of fat. In addition, overeating pumpkin seeds can also cause intestinal inflammation and stomach pain.

Precaution of Pumpkin Seeds

As miraculous as they are, pumpkin seeds are not for everyone. While the good outweighs the bad, you should keep some things in mind. So here are a few things to consider before you add them to your meal plan.

1. Pumpkin seeds may lose their nutritional benefits if not consumed properly. 

It would help if you appropriately consumed pumpkin seeds, or else they would lose their nutrients. If you plan on cooking your pumpkin seeds, try to avoid doing that. It will help if you chew them properly to get the most out of them. Crisp or overcooking makes them lose their water-soluble nutrients. They lose niacin, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin C, thiamin, and vitamin B6.

2. Not for people on diuretic drugs. 

Pumpkin seeds have mild diuretic properties. Therefore, if mixed with diuretic drugs, they may react poorly. It can also trigger oedema, a renal disorder, or specific cardiovascular issues. Consuming them when you are on diuretic medications may even cause a mineral imbalance. 

3. Pumpkin seeds are not safe for infants. 

These tiny savoury additions are phenomenal for our health, but they are not healthy for infants. Fibre and fatty acids are not as suitable for infants as for adults. They can trigger stomach pain, cramps, vomiting, maybe even diarrhoea in infants. Therefore, while they are rich in protein and iron, they are not for infants.

4. May not be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. 

There is a lack of research that proves whether pumpkin seeds are safe during this period. But there also is not enough proof that they are harmful during this time. Therefore, it is best to consume a safe amount if you wish to. However, it would be best to do that only after consulting with your doctor.

5. People can be allergic to pumpkin seeds. 

Anyone can develop an allergy to just about anything, including one of the healthiest foods. For example, while pumpkin seeds are not highly allergenic, they can cause allergies. Resultant allergies can affect your skin the most. Symptoms of this type of allergic reaction are eczema, headaches, itching, and redness or rhinoconjunctivitis. You may also face obstructed breathing, coughing, shortness of breath, or a throat ache.

6. Not safe for people with hypoglycemia. 

Pumpkin seeds are the ideal snack for people with diabetes. However, they help lower your blood sugar which is not suitable for people with hypoglycemia. In addition, they reduce the glucose level in your blood and can clash with your anti-diabetic medication. Thus, they can be pretty dangerous for people with hypoglycemia.

7. Unsafe for people with low blood pressure. 

Pumpkin seeds are perfect for people with high blood pressure. The antioxidants in them help lower your blood pressure. Therefore, if you suffer from hypotension, pumpkin seeds can worsen your condition if you suffer from hypotension. In addition, they can form a dangerous combination with anti-hypertensive medication.

How to Consume Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds are very versatile, not to mention vegetarian and vegan. It would help if you consumed the raw and unsalted variety for maximum health benefits. However, when roasted and salted, they become less nutritious. Yet, they are still healthy.

Because the roasted and salted variety is tastier, you may still consume them, however their  health benefits are reduced on being processed. The raw variant is not very tasty. Make it an acquired taste and reap its immense health benefits. 

But, there are many enjoyable ways to add pumpkin seeds to your meal plan. 

  • Sprinkle them into salads or batters for pancakes or waffles. 
  • Put them into smoothies, yoghurt, or acai bowls. 
  • Add them to the baking mix for bread or seed cakes. 
  • Get creative, add versatility to your food, and reap the maximum health benefits while snacking. 

Here are some delicious yet extremely healthy recipes that include pumpkin seeds.

1. Pumpkin Seed Snack Bars 

These snack bars require only five ingredients, which have various health benefits. In addition, they are deliciously sweet and salty. And they are perfect for a filling snack or light breakfast.

The prep time for these bars is 5 minutes; the cooking time is 15 minutes. And, the total time you need is 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • ½ a cup of oat flour
  • 2 cups of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • ¼ a cup of honey or brown rice syrup in case you are vegan
  • Two tablespoons of melted cold pressed coconut oil

Method

  • The first step is to preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. Then, line a baking pan with parchment paper. Then you may grease it with oil or butter.
  • Put the oat flour, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, honey, and coconut oil in a mixing bowl. Mix until all the ingredients are combined well.
  • Transfer the mixture into the pan and press it down with a spoon. Optionally, you could apply some oil or butter to the back of the spoon. Push it down lightly, but not enough to hear the seeds crunch. The mixture in the pan needs to be moderately loose.
  • Bake the snack bar mixture in the pan in the oven for 15 minutes. After this, take the mixture out of the oven. Then the snack bar mixture needs to be set down to cool for 10 minutes. One of the last steps is to put the pan in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • The last step is to take the pan out and cut the mixture into bars. You can eat these snack bars immediately or store them in airtight containers. They are incredibly nutritious and easy to make.

2. Banana Bread fortified with Pumpkin Seeds 

Pumpkin Seeds Benefits- HealthifyMe

This recipe is a healthy twist on a cheat-day snack. The nourishing ingredients balance out the sugar. Therefore it can be consumed as a reward quite often instead of regular desserts.

The prep time for this loaf is 15 minutes; the cooking time is 60-70 minutes. This unchallenging recipe yields one flavoursome loaf.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • ¾ of a teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ of a teaspoon of salt
  • ½  cup of jaggery
  • ½ a cup of softened butter
  • ⅓ of a cup of buttermilk
  • One teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • One egg
  • One egg yolk
  • ⅓ of a cup of dried cranberries
  • ½ a cup of pumpkin seeds
  • Three large peeled and mashed bananas

Steps:

  • The first step is to preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. After that, grease the pan with butter or oil and keep it aside.
  • Take a large bowl and combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Set aside this mixture of dry ingredients.
  • The next step is to lay your hands on another mixing bowl. In this, cream together your buttermilk, jaggery, eggs, and vanilla essence.

After this:

  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture and mix until uniformly combined.
  • Then, add the mixed bananas to complete the batter.
  • Keep mixing to form a uniform batter.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 60-70 minutes. It would be best to bake it until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • The last step is to cool it for 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven.

Summary

Pumpkin seeds are some of the healthiest foods that you can consume. They are a natural, rich source of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, unsaturated fats, protein, and fibre. They are an easy way to aid your weight loss journey and give you health benefits. Adding the consumption of pumpkin seeds to your daily routine is essential.

They are also for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, they can help with numerous kinds of deficiencies, especially zinc or magnesium. They are easy to add to your diet and are pretty delicious. You can eat them raw or in a delicious recipe. They can be eaten raw, salted, or roasted. You can also consume them after they have been extracted directly from the pumpkin. Even their shells are rich in nutrients and vitamins.

Pumpkin Seeds – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the benefits of eating pumpkin seeds?

A. Pumpkin seeds are abundant in valuable nutrients like zinc, magnesium, protein and fibre. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. They also help maintain heart health, lower blood sugar levels and improve sleep quality.

Q2. Is it OK to eat pumpkin seeds every day?

A. Yes, it is okay to eat pumpkin seeds every day but make sure to eat them in moderation as overconsumption may lead to gaseous distention, bloating and constipation. The proper serving size is 30 grams or 1/4th cup per day. 

Q3. Who should not eat pumpkin seeds?

A. Those who are on diuretic drugs, infants, pregnant or breastfeeding women, allergic to pumpkin seeds, people with hypoglycaemia and those with low blood pressure should refrain from having pumpkin seeds. 

Q4. Why are pumpkin seeds bad for you?

A. Pumpkin seeds are only bad for you if consumed over the recommended amount, which is 15 grams. They contain a lot of fibre which can cause constipation and bloating. They also don’t mix well with medication, so they are harmful to the people mentioned above.

Q5. Why are pumpkin seeds good for females?

A. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc, which help improve bone density. It helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a common condition in post menopause stage. They are also abundant in omega3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which helps ensure fluid supply to follicles for proper egg maturity. It increases fertility in women.

Q6. Can we eat pumpkin seeds raw?

A. Yes, pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw. They have more fibre and unsaturated fats and are more nutritious if they are raw and unsalted. However, they taste much better when roasted, so people tend to prefer the roasted version more.

Q7. Do pumpkin seeds increase weight?

A. If consumed in large amounts, pumpkin seeds can cause an increase in weight. While being low calorie, they still contain them, and just like anything else, overeating these can accumulate fat.

Q8. What happens to your body when you eat pumpkin seeds?

A. When consumed in moderation, pumpkin seeds make your bones stronger, reduce blood sugar level, keep your heart healthy, help hair growth, improve immunity and improve sleep quality.

Q9. Are pumpkin seeds good for hair?

A. Yes, pumpkin seeds contain a compound called cucurbitacin, an amino acid that leads to hair growth. The other nutrients in pumpkin seeds also help maintain strong and shiny hair. You can also try its oil on your hair for thick and strong hair.

Q10. What are the side effects of pumpkin?

A. Pumpkin doesn’t necessarily have any side effects. It is as dense in nutrients as any other vegetable. 

Q11. Do pumpkin seeds react with medications?

A. Yes, pumpkin seeds do not mix well with some medications. In addition, they have mild diuretic properties, so you should not mix them with diuretic drugs as they might react poorly.

Q12. Is pumpkin bad for the stomach?

A. No pumpkin isn’t bad for the stomach. It is suitable for the gut as it has many benefits, including medicinal properties that protect the stomach against peptic ulcers

Q13. Can males eat pumpkin seeds?

A. Yes, pumpkin is suitable for men as it helps in strengthening the prostate gland and promoting healthy hormone function. It also may help with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In addition, pumpkin seeds are abundant in zinc, which improves men’s fertility and sperm quality.

Q14. Are pumpkin seeds good for your sperm?

A. Yes, pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of zinc and Phytosterol, which improves testosterone production in men. These two combined help with sperm count, quality of sperm and fertility. 

Q15. How often should a man eat pumpkin seeds?

A. Men should eat 15 grams of pumpkin seeds once a day to get a good amount of zinc, protein, healthy fats, fibre, magnesium and other nutrients.

Q16. Is pumpkin seed oil good for females?

A. Yes, its is highly effective in improving skin and hair health. It also helps relieve some of the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, joint pain and headache.

Q17. What do pumpkin seeds do for your body?

A. When consumed in moderation, pumpkin seeds make your bones stronger, reduce blood sugar level, keep your heart healthy, help hair growth, improve immunity and improve sleep quality.

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