Pumpkin seeds are edible seeds that are usually roasted for consumption. Pumpkin seeds are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Roasted seeds make a calorie-dense and satisfying healthy snack that offers several vitamins and minerals. While a lot of people are cautious of using pumpkin seeds for weight loss, when consumed in controlled portions they can curb cravings and provide your body with the kind of nutrition it requires.
Types of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are also known as kaddu seeds in the Indian market. There are various types of pumpkin seeds available in the market. The types pumpkin seeds include:
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Salted pumpkin seeds
- White pumpkin seeds
- Green pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkin seeds without shell
It is important to note that not all varieties of pumpkin seeds offer the same benefits. Packaged or processed pumpkin seeds typically have an extra dose of preservatives and sodium. The healthiest way to eating pumpkin seeds is to eat them raw. You can also try drying pumpkin seeds and roasting them on your own for healthy, crunchy snack.
Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Facts
A 100 gram serving of organic, raw pumpkin seeds contains:
- 127 calories
- 15 g of carbohydrate (including 17.9 g of fiber and 0 g of sugar)
- 5 mg of protein
- 21.43 g of fat (3.57 g of which is saturated fat)
- 20 mg of calcium
- 0.9 g of iron
- 1 g of saturated fatty acids
A 100-gram serving of in-shell, salted, roasted pumpkin seeds contains:
- 536 calories
- 4 g carbohydrate (including 3.57 g of sugar and 3.6 g of fiber)
- 32.14 g of protein
- 42.86 g of fat, (8.93 g of which is saturated)
- 71 mg of calcium
- 16.07 mg of iron
- 571 g of sodium
Another scientific study says that 100 g of pumpkin seeds contains:
- 7.99 mg of zinc
- 9.76 mg of iron
- 78.18 mg of calcium
- 90.69 mg of magnesium
- 20.56 mg of sodium
Pumpkin seeds rich in vitamins and minerals are a good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium.
Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
The nutrients in pumpkin seeds help in the management of a variety of health conditions. Pumpkin seeds also provide a boost of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Let us know what the benefits of consuming pumpkin seeds are and how are pumpkin seeds good for health.
- Bone health: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is important for bone formation. High magnesium intake has been shown to decrease the risk of osteoporosis in women after menopause and is associated with greater bone density.
- Diabetes: Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of antioxidants and magnesium. Antioxidants may help in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Low magnesium levels can lower insulin sensitivity and impair insulin secretion.
- Heart health: With an intake of 365 mg of magnesium per day, improvement in lipid profiles have been seen. Pumpkin seeds being a rich source of magnesium can help in maintaining a good heart health.
- Heart and liver health: Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This aids benefits for both the liver and the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the risk of thrombosis and arrhythmias; reduce LDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels; reduce atherosclerosis or fatty buildup on the artery walls; improve endothelial function; slightly lower blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds are also known to contain sterols that are known to help reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol.
- Weight loss and digestion: Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber. This helps in enhancing digestive health. It also makes one feel full for longer after eating the seeds and hence helps in maintain weight.
- Skin and eye health: There are also benefits of pumpkin seeds for skin health. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of squalene which is an antioxidant compound that is similar to beta-carotene. Squalene plays a role in protecting the skin during UV and other kinds of radiation exposure. Additionally, squalene plays an important role in retinal health.
- Antioxidant activity: Non-refined pumpkin seed oil contains PUFA and lipophilic antioxidants and is known to offer antioxidant protection. Antioxidants help in removing unwanted waste substances known as free radicals. Antioxidants also help in reducing inflammation, resulting in a lowered risk of a range of health problems.
- Supports cell growth and repair: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein. Protein is necessary for the body to build tissues. Consuming an adequate amount of pumpkin seeds every day can help the body in reaching its daily protein requirements and supple the body with the appropriate foundation of amino acid foundation blocks.
- Pregnancy: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, an addition of which is likely to improve health outcomes during pregnancy. Zinc is essential for normal immune function and the prevention of uterine infections, all of which could contribute to preterm delivery.
- Promotes good sleep: Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is associated with improvements in sleep.
- Sexual, prostate, and urinary health: Pumpkin seeds have traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac and are known to have a beneficial effect on sexual health status. Studies suggest that pumpkin seed oil can reduce symptoms and increase the quality of life of those suffering from an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP). Pumpkin seed oil may also help in treating urinary disorders and reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
- Enhances immune function: Zinc is an important mineral that is not stored in the body. Deficiency of zinc can lead to an impairment in key immune processes. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc and vitamin E. Adequate zinc and vitamin E are crucial for proper wound healing after an infection or injury.
- Reduces triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood and are associated with heart diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids in pumpkin seeds help in reducing high triglycerides resulting in reducing unhealthy cardiovascular markers. The combination of beneficial fats and fiber in pumpkin seeds produces cumulative positive effects on the body.
How to eat pumpkin seeds
The perfect use of pumpkin seeds is to eat them as a snack. However, the are many other ways you can make use of pumpkin seeds and increase the nutritional value of your food or meal. Some of these fun ways to make use of pumpkin seeds include:
- Toss a handful or spoonful of pumpkin seeds into your salads to add a healthy crunch ingredient
- Top your breakfast fruits, muffins, oatmeal, etc. with pumpkin seeds for added crunch and make it interesting
- Dress up your baked goods by flecking some pumpkin seeds on top of them and make them a healthy recipe
- Add pumpkin seeds to some dried cherries, almonds, sunflower seeds, and a healthy sweetener to prepare a healthy superfood trail mix
- Stir some pumpkin seeds into your chili for some added flavor
- Grind some pumpkin seeds to make homemade protein powder
There are various pumpkin recipes that one can add pumpkin seeds to and make the meal even healthier. Some of these healthy pumpkin recipes include: