More people are trying pumpkin seeds as a healthy snack. But are they really THAT great? They are. This post shares 10 pumpkin seeds health benefits, and why they deserve a special place in your pantry.
I’ve been getting more requests on superfoods - and their benefits - ever since I started doing more “Benefits of” posts. And that’s awesome!
So today, we'll talk about a food that’s having a moment this season. No, not pumpkins. (Although, I did make an article on the benefits of pumpkins!) I’m talking about their seeds.
Only recently has this underrated ingredient been gaining more popularity. And you can catch sight of them as salad toppings, in soups and smoothies, and in oatmeal and baked goods. Many places!
They add a wonderful nutty flavor and crunch to any recipe. Not to mention added nutrition!
You might ask...Is there really more to it than just a healthy snack? For what reasons - really - should I start enjoying pumpkin seeds?
Read on further to learn about why pumpkin seeds are worth all the hype...and then some!
What Happens If You Eat Pumpkin Seeds Every Day?
When consumed in moderation, a lot of great things can happen when you get your daily dose of pumpkin seeds! You’ll be able to get antioxidant protection, plus a good dose of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
Because of their high nutrient content, pumpkin seeds may even help with improving mood, energy, and immunity levels. (We’ll be diving deeper into more benefits below).
Be careful not to eat too much though! You may experience bloating, gassiness, and constipation. As with everything, moderation is key.
How Many Pumpkin Seeds Should You Eat A Day?
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily amount (as part of a healthy diet) is around 30g. This is also equivalent to ¼ cup.
Which isn't really a lot! Still, this serving will give you a great whack of healthy fats, protein, fiber, zinc, magnesium, and more beneficial nutrients we’ll be breaking down further below!
Which Is Healthier Pumpkin Or Sunflower Seeds?
It really depends on the benefits you’re looking to get. Both pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats. Though, here’s a quick rundown of their differences below:
Sunflower seeds (compared to pumpkin seeds):
- Are higher calories
- Contain a higher protein content
- Higher in healthy fats
- Contain more B vitamins, Vitamin C, phosphorous, iron, copper, and manganese
Pumpkin seeds (compared to sunflower seeds):
- Are higher in carbs
- Higher in dietary fiber
- Contain more Vitamin K, zinc and choline
- When bought as pepitas, they are green, oval-shaped and flat without a shell
Why Are Pumpkin Seeds Good For Women?
While both men and women reap the benefits of pumpkin seeds, they are particularly great for women.
- Bone health: Pumpkin seeds may help reduce the risk for osteoporosis in women after menopause. (Due to the magnesium and phosphorus known for supporting bone density.)
- Skin and hair health: Pumpkin seeds may help boost hair and skin health because of the calcium, Vitamin A, and protein. This is great for women and men, of course (but women may save more on beauty products).
- Fertility: Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants which aid in healthy egg maturity and stimulate blood flow to reproductive organs. (And don't forget the men; low zinc levels can affect male fertility and pumpkin seeds can help with that.)
Do Pumpkin Seeds Burn Belly Fat?
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, zinc, and unsaturated fatty acids. ALL of which support weight loss and weight maintenance.
Let’s break them down and see how:
- Fiber helps you stay full, aids in healthy digestion and gut health. All these factors help contribute to increasing your metabolism and reducing your appetite.
- Protein reduces your hunger hormone which helps you avoid eating more calories. It is also linked to fat burning and boosting metabolism. (See my post on protein shakes.)
- Unsaturated fatty acids are beneficial fats that increase satiety and allow the body to convert stored fat into fuel.
- Zinc helps your body produce testosterone - which we all need - and aids in muscle building.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds?
Here we go! Let’s take a look at the 10 amazing benefits of pumpkin seeds. I hope these inspire you to add pumpkin seeds to your next Buddha bowl recipe, or simply toast them for a snack! Yum.
1. Pumpkin Seeds May Help Promote Better Sleep
If your sleep quality isn’t doing so well, it might help to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet. They’re a good source of tryptophan and magnesium which help promote normal sleep patterns. An amino acid, tryptophan converts to serotonin and melatonin, key sleep-aiding hormones.
2. Pumpkin Seeds May Help Improve Heart Health
Promising studies show that pumpkin seeds could be good for the heart due to their alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content. ALA is linked to heart health and reduces the risk of heart disease. And the potassium in pumpkin seeds gives a cardiovascular benefit. A healthy heart means a lot of good things - and did you know that nitric oxide can be increased by pumpkin seeds? This prevents clogging of the arteries and promotes healthy blood vessels.
3. Pumpkin Seeds May Help Regulate Blood Pressure
I’ve mentioned that the magnesium in pumpkin seeds could be good for sleep. Magnesium can also help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Zinc is also present which helps do the same.
4. Pumpkin Seeds May Help Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers
Diets rich in pumpkin seeds are linked to a lower risk of breast, lung, stomach, prostate, and colon cancers. These studies demonstrate the role pumpkin seeds and the lignans in them have in helping prevent or slow down the development of cancerous cells. Prostate cancer growth, for example, is thought to significantly slow down thanks to polyphenols in pumpkin seeds.
5. Pumpkin Seeds May Help Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Pumpkin seeds are shown to contain hypoglycemic properties, which can patients with diabetes manage blood sugar levels. They may also be beneficial in preventing diabetic complications like high cholesterol levels.
6. Pumpkin Seeds May Improve Bladder Health
Studies link pumpkin seed oil (which is extracted from pumpkin seeds) to preventing or treating urinary problems. Though further research is still required, these studies show potential in improving bladder health, including overactive bladder.
7. Pumpkin Seeds May Help Improve Prostate Health
Several studies show that pumpkin seeds may help in relieving symptoms of enlarged prostate. One study observed 1,400 men in the course of a year with symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
This study notes that they had fewer symptoms and better quality of life after regularly eating pumpkin seeds. Food IS medicine, y'all!
8. Pumpkin Seeds May Help Support Gut Health
Looking to boost your gut health? Pumpkin seeds are great sources of dietary fiber...which make for great prebiotics. Prebiotics help improve gut health by feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut.
9. Pumpkin Seeds Are Rich in Antioxidants
You should make it a point to eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods. It's good for your overall health, immunity, and a load of other benefits. Antioxidants fight free radicals that can eventually cause us harm. Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source!
Read up on this topic in this post: Top 10 Antioxidant-Rich Foods | With Easy Recipes.
10. Pumpkin Seeds May Reduce Risk for Diabetes
Because pumpkin seeds are great for regulating blood sugar levels, they also lower the risk of developing diabetes. If this topic speaks to you, I highly recommend my post on The 15 Best Foods to Lower Your Blood Sugar.
More Delicious Recipes With Pumpkin Seeds
While there's certainly room for more pumpkin seed recipes on this blog, here are a few to get you started:
And if you're into seeds these days, be sure to check out these posts!
- What Are The Best Seeds For Weight Loss?
- 11 Crazy Awesome Benefits of Chia Seeds
- 10 Surprising Benefits of Flaxseed Meal
This post contains affiliate links to products I use regularly and highly recommend.