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9 Amazing Benefits of Pumpkin & Pumpkin Seeds

by Carrie Borzillo  -  October 11th, 2021

Photo Credit: by Nick Collins
Photo Credit: by Nick Collins

The weather has cooled, summer is officially over, and pumpkin-flavored foods are in every coffee shop, grocery store, and farmer’s market around us. While the smell and taste evoke warmth and coziness and fills you with thoughts of grandma’s Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, there are several other reasons to love this seasonal gourd. Pumpkin has a slew of health, beauty, and wellness benefits ranging from giving you glowing skin to protecting you from certain cancers.

Pumpkin seeds in particular are chock full of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, and K, and minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Here is the breakdown of what’s in an ounce of pumpkin seeds in relation to the recommended dietary intake guidelines...

● Calories: Approximately 151

● Fiber: 1.7 grams

● Carbs: 5 grams

● Protein: 7 grams

● Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s)

● Manganese: 42% of the RDI

● Magnesium: 37% of the RDI

● Phosphorous: 33% of the RDI

● Iron: 23% of the RDI

● Copper: 19% of the RDI

● Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI

● Zinc: 14% of the RDI

Check out these nine amazing benefits of pumpkin...

1. Brightens & Clears Skin

Pumpkin, applied topically, is truly a superfood for your skin. This time of year, you can find pumpkin facials, masks, and peels at any day spa or check your local beauty store for retail products, such as Peter Thomas Roth’s Pumpkin Enzyme Mask.

The main beauty benefits of pumpkin include reducing acne breakouts, stimulating the production of collagen, decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and lightening hyper-pigmentation.

"Pumpkin pulp is a powerful antioxidant (beta carotene), which is a precursor to retinol (Vitamin A) so it’s brightening to the skin and plumping too. It’s a very active enzyme so they actively digest dead skin cells so it’s also very exfoliating. Furthermore, there are minerals present in pumpkin pulp that are fantastic skin conditioners," Sam Dhatt, DermaQuest CEO and Lead Chemist, explained to Les Nouvelles & Esthétiques & Spa magazine.

If you don’t want to hit the spa or shops, try this DIY at-home pumpkin mask courtesy of Ava Shamban, M.D., a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist via Prevention magazine.

Ingredients:

● 2 cups pureed or canned pumpkin

● ⅓ cup finely ground almonds

● 4 tablespoons plain yogurt

● 4 tablespoons honey

● ¼ teaspoon olive oil

Instructions:

1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.

2. Apply the mixture to clean skin and let it sit for 5-10 minutes while you are in the bath or shower. (the enzymes in the pumpkin are most active when they are moist).

3. Remove with a clean microfiber cloth and follow up with your favorite moisturizer.

2. Protects Our Hearts

Pumpkin seeds are especially good for heart health in a variety of ways. The magnesium in the seeds helps to lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol levels, and triglycerides, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. The fiber in the seeds also helps to reduce cholesterol levels.

Case in point: A recent study of postmenopausal women found that pumpkin seed oil supplements helped to reduce diastolic blood pressure, which is the second, or bottom, number of your blood pressure reading, by 7% and increased the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels by 16%.

3. Reduces the Risk of Cancers

The powerful antioxidants in pumpkin seeds help reduce the risk of various cancers such as breast, colorectal, lung and stomach/gastric cancers, while the carotenoids help prevent prostate cancer. One study showed that the lignans in pumpkin seeds not only helped prevent, but also treat breast cancer.

4. Improves Prostate Health

Along with helping prevent prostate cancer, pumpkin is also good for men’s health in that it can help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a condition where the prostate glands enlarge and cause issues with urination.

5. Manages Diabetes

The high amount of magnesium in pumpkin and pumpkin seeds is also responsible for helping people manage their diabetes by helping to lower blood sugar levels. A study of over 125,000 people found those who ate foods high in magnesium showed a 33% lower risk for type 2 diabetes in men and 34% in women.

6. Improves Sperm Quality

Zinc, which pumpkin seeds have a bounty of, is known to improve fertility in men by increasing the testosterone levels and improving the quality and quantity of sperm. The high level of antioxidants in the seeds also contribute to increased testosterone, which improves overall prostate health and having a healthy sperm count.

7. Boosts Immunity

Pumpkin seeds’ Vitamin E and zinc help to boost our immune system. Vitamin E enhances immune response and protects against various infectious diseases and helps maintain healthy blood vessels. Meanwhile, zinc protects our bodies from inflammation, allergies, and invading pathogens that help to prevent infections and increase overall immune health.

8. Improves Sleep

Pumpkin is also a rich source of the amino acid, tryptophan. You might have heard that part of the reason many get sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is because of the tryptophan in turkey. Well, that tryptophan is also in your pumpkin pie. This is the amino acid that gets converted into serotonin, the feel-good hormone, in the body, and melatonin, the sleep hormone, both of which help you sleep better.

9. Helps with Digestion

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Diets high in fiber promote good digestion, constipation relief, and help maintain regular bowel movements. Additionally, the fiber in pumpkin seeds also help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

If you want to get more pumpkin in your life, there are pumpkin supplements you can buy in pill, capsule, or oil form. Or you can whip up this healthy, family-friendly snack:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

● 1 fresh whole pumpkin

● Either 2 teaspoons of melted butter of 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

● Salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C)

2. Scoop out the seeds and separate them from pumpkin guts.

3. Rinse the seeds to make sure there is no pumpkin pulp or strings.

4. Toss the seeds with butter or olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

5. Lay out flat on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, shake them up a bit and bake for another 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Disclaimer:

The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.
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