Top 11 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Eating only a small amount of them can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc.
Because of this, pumpkin seeds have been associated with several health benefits.
These include improved heart health, prostate health and protection against certain cancers.
What’s more, these seeds can be easily incorporated into your diet.
Here are the top 11 health benefits of pumpkin seeds that are supported by science.
1. Full of Valuable Nutrients
Pumpkin seeds are the edible seeds of a pumpkin. They are also known as “pepita” — a Mexican Spanish term.
Unlike the hard white seeds from a carving pumpkin, most pumpkin seeds bought from the supermarket do not have a shell.
These shell-free seeds are flat and oval in shape, and have a green color.
This is what whole (white) and shell-free (green) pumpkin seeds look like:
There are roughly 151 calories in an ounce (28 grams) of shell-free pumpkin seeds, mainly from fat and protein.
In addition, a 1-oz (28-gram) serving contains (1):
Fiber: 1.7 grams.
Carbs: 5 grams.
Protein: 7 grams.
Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s).
Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI.
Phosphorous: 33% of the RDI.
Manganese: 42% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 37% of the RDI.
Iron: 23% of the RDI.
Zinc: 14% of the RDI.
Copper: 19% of the RDI.
They also contain lots of antioxidants and a decent amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.
Pumpkin seeds and seed oil also contain many other nutrients that have been shown to provide health benefits (2, 3).
Bottom Line: Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium and many other nutrients. An ounce (28 grams) contains about 151 calories.
2. High in Antioxidants
Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E (4, 5, 6).
Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and protect your cells from harmful free radicals. Because of this, consuming foods rich in antioxidants can help protect against many different diseases (7).
It is thought that the high levels of antioxidants in pumpkins seeds are partly responsible for their positive effects on health.
In one study, inflammation was reduced when rats with arthritis were given pumpkin seed oil. Rats given an anti-inflammatory drug experienced negative side effects, whereas rats given pumpkin seed oil had no side effects (8).
Bottom Line: Pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants that may help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.
3. Linked to a Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
Diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been associated with lower levels of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers (5).
A large observational study found that eating them was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer inpostmenopausal women (9).
Others studies suggest that the lignans in pumpkin seeds may play a key role in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer (10).
Further test-tube studies found that a supplement containing pumpkin seeds had the potential to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells (11, 12).