Pumpkin Seeds Benefits, How to Roast Them, Side Effects, and More!

As October progresses, more and more people are preparing for the 31st with candy, spooky decorations, and of course pumpkins, but did you know that this fall fruit is practically a superfood? Not just the fruit either, pumpkin seeds are the best yet most underrated part of the pumpkin!

Person holding the superfood squash, pumpkin.
Pumpkins are a nutritional treasure, so lets get picking -Photo by Aaron Burden

We turn to this fruit to light our porch and celebrate the season, but there are incredible benefits to eating pumpkins.

Nutritionally, even the seeds are jam packed of beneficial vitamins and nutrients!

Keep reading to find out all the amazing science-based benefits of pumpkin and its seeds.

Two orange pumpkins that have been carved for Halloween.
Jack-o-lanterns are both spooky and tasty – Photo by Bekir Dönmez

All About Pumpkins – Why do we carve them?

Pumpkin is a winter squash common in North America During Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Traditionally called jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins and other squashes have been carved for decades. Their origin comes from the Irish myth about Stingy Jack, a ghost you try to avoid with a carved offering.

Today, it is a common spooky decoration to add to your house for a festive time with your family.

Adding pumpkin to your diet, however, can increase your overall wellbeing exponentially!

Nutrition Facts of Pumpkins

It is a relatively low-carb food that is high in various nutritional components.

1 cup of pumpkin has only between 50 and 130 calories (depending on the type), 18 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

It has over 200% of your recommended vitamin A intake and high amounts of vitamin C, K, B6, and E.

Additionally, pumpkins contain high amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium, and riboflavin.

They are incredibly low in fat and sodium, making them a great and filling snack.

Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin

1. Increase Immunity

The high amounts of Vitamin A become a powerful antioxidant in the body, helping to fight infection.

The vitamin can also increase the strength of the intestinal tract, where 90% of the body’s immune response comes from

These vitamins may also rescue the risk of cancer in the body.

2. Improve Skin Health

The antioxidants and vitamins in pumpkin can improve skin health greatly.

Vitamin A is converted into beta carotene in the body, which can protect the skin from UV rays and improve skin texture and appearance.

Vitamin C and E are also powerful antioxidants that may improve skin.

3. Improved Cardiovascular Health

The antioxidants in pumpkins help reduce heart disease and stop free radicals from damaging the body.

Potassium, vitamin C, and fiber found in pumpkins have also been liked to a healthy heart, reducing blood pressure and risk of stroke.

4. Lower Blood Sugar

Pumpkins are high in fiber and less likely to spike blood sugar when compared to rice and potatoes.

Pumpkin may even reduce blood sugar levels and increase the insulin production of the body.

This makes it ideal to help manage or prevent diabetes.

5. Reduce Body Fat and Increase Metabolism

Pumpkins are high in fiber, making us fuller for longer.

It is also low in calories yet incredibly high in nutrition, adding to its benefits to the body.

It has high amounts of water as well, helping to hydrate the body and stabilize the system.

How to Cook and Eat Pumpkin

Though it may be a fruit, nutritionally, a pumpkin is similar to a vegetable.

It can be used in sweet ways (pies, custards, muffins) or savory ways (soups, roasted, grilled).

Try out different cooking techniques and find the one that suits you best!

Pumpkin seeds that have been roasted in the oven with sugar and cinnamon.
Pumpkin seeds are great roasted toasted snacks -Photo by Macey Bundt

Nutrition Facts of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in many nutrients. 28 grams (1 oz)contain only 51 calories.

It is high in protein at 7 grams in this serving, and high in healthy fats at 13 grams per serving. Much of this fat is essential omega 6.

Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, and copper. Finally, they are full of antioxidants, folate, B2, and potassium.

Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds have been used for thousands of years as a nutritional staple, even claiming to treat illnesses such as high blood pressure, kidney stones, and parasites.

Keep reading to sort out fact from fiction with science-based benefits of pumpkin seeds!

1. Anti Inflammatory

Pumpkin seeds have many antioxidants that make them ideal to treat inflammation in the body.

They are high in fiber, further reducing inflammation. This can be beneficial to the joints, liver, bladder, and digestive tract.

2. Lowers Blood Sugar

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, something that many individuals don’t get enough of in their diet.

Magnesium lowers blood sugar levels which can, in turn, reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Some studies even show an improvement in managing diabetes with the addition of pumpkin seeds in the diet.

3. Cardiovascular Benefits

Pumpkin seeds reduce blood pressure thanks to their nutritional content.

This helps lower a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, and even lowers cholesterol levels.

4. Anti Cancer Properties

Eating pumpkin seeds may lower the risk for breast, stomach, lung, colon, and prostate cancer.

Research indicates that pumpkin seeds may prevent or low the growth of cancer cells.

5. Improve Sleep

Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote rest and sleep.

The zinc levels in pumpkin seeds may also help increase melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

Additionally, the magnesium in pumpkin seeds is another nutrient that has a need associated with improved quality of sleep.

How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are simple to cook. Simply heat the oven to 300 degrees, make sure the seeds are cleaned of pulp.

Dry them, place them on parchment paper, and pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Adding salt or sugar is optional as they have a lovely roasted flavor similar to sunflower seeds when baked.

Other spices, such as cinnamon for a sweet crunch or oregano for a savory crunch can be added before baking!

The Takeaway

Pumpkins are not only a great pastime to carve and celebrate October, there are numerous benefits to eating this fall squash.

Pumpkins can help improve metabolism, heart health, immune system response, and skin.

Pumpkin seeds are an amazing food that is easy to roast and snack on.

Remember, health starts from within, so consuming great foods can help improve your life, one day at a time!

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