Pumpkin seeds not only taste good, but they are also a great source of essential minerals such as potassium, iron, and magnesium. They have been used for centuries by native Americans to support digestive and urinary health. However, there is one mineral that they contain in abundance—zinc. Did you know a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contain twenty-three percent of your daily zinc needs?

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

This Halloween after you’ve carved your pumpkins, don’t throw away the seeds. Use them to provide nourishment and a dose of good health to your family. Here are seven ways in which pumpkin seeds can benefit your health.

1. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Rich in phenol (antioxidants), pumpkin seeds can play a vital role in balancing blood sugar levels.[1] The bioactive proteins present in them have anti-hyperglycemic properties that have a positive impact on regulating blood sugar levels.[2]

2. Kill Harmful Microorganisms
Chinese researchers found that pumpkin seeds were effective in killing tapeworms.[3]

3. Support Prostate Health
Alternative health practitioners recommend pumpkin seeds for prostate health and BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia). A Korean study reported that pumpkin seed oil derived from the seeds significantly improved urinary flow and improved quality of life in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).[4]

4. Promote Healthy Cholesterol Levels
A study done on postmenopausal women found that pumpkin seeds promoted healthy cholesterol levels. Beside this, the women also had their blood pressure under control.[5]

5. Help Prevent Cancer
A study found that pumpkin seeds can significantly improve breast health.[6] Lignans in pumpkin seeds can offer breast health support and prevent breast cancer.[7] In another study, a supplement containing pumpkin seeds helped in the management of prostate cancer.[8]

6. Manage Post-Menopausal Symptoms
Pumpkin seeds help balance the hormonal fluctuations and decreased the severity of hot flashes, reduced joint pains and caused fewer headaches.[5]

7. Help Maintain A Strong Heart
Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytochemicals and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-lipoic acid, offers protection against ventricular fibrillation (uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the heart), the primary cause of a heart attack.[9]

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1. Kwon YI, Apostolidis E, Kim YC, Shetty K. Health benefits of traditional corn, beans, and pumpkin: in vitro studies for hyperglycemia and hypertension management. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):266-75. PubMed PMID: 17651062.

2. Teugwa CM, Boudjeko T, Tchinda BT, Mejiato PC, Zofou D. Anti-hyperglycaemic globulins from selected Cucurbitaceae seeds used as antidiabetic medicinal plants in Africa. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Mar 18;13:63. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-63. PubMed PMID: 23506532; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3618205.

3. Li T, Ito A, Chen X, Long C, Okamoto M, Raoul F, Giraudoux P, Yanagida T, Nakao M, Sako Y, Xiao N, Craig PS. Usefulness of pumpkin seeds combined with areca nut extract in community-based treatment of human taeniasis in northwest Sichuan Province, China. Acta Trop. 2012 Nov;124(2):152-7. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Aug 11. PubMed PMID: 22910218.

4. Hong H, Kim CS, Maeng S. Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutr Res Pract. 2009 Winter;3(4):323-7. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2009.3.4.323. Epub 2009 Dec 31. PubMed PMID:  20098586; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2809240.

5. Gossell-Williams M, Hyde C, Hunter T, Simms-Stewart D, Fletcher H, McGrowder D, Walters CA. Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 Oct;14(5):558-64. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2011.563882. Epub 2011 May 5. PubMed PMID: 21545273.

6. Zaineddin AK, Buck K, Vrieling A, Heinz J, Flesch-Janys D, Linseisen J, Chang-Claude J. The association between dietary lignans, phytoestrogen-rich foods, and fiber intake and postmenopausal breast cancer risk: a German case-control study. Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(5):652-65. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2012.683227. Epub 2012 May 16. PubMed PMID: 22591208.

7. Richter D, Abarzua S, Chrobak M, Vrekoussis T, Weissenbacher T, Kuhn C, Schulze S, Kupka MS, Friese K, Briese V, Piechulla B, Makrigiannakis A, Jeschke U, Dian D. Effects of phytoestrogen extracts isolated from pumpkin seeds on estradiol production and ER/PR expression in breast cancer and trophoblast tumor cells. Nutr Cancer. 2013;65(5):739-45. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2013.797000. PubMed
PMID: 23859042.

8. Jiang J, Eliaz I, Sliva D. Suppression of growth and invasive behavior of human prostate cancer cells by ProstaCaid™: mechanism of activity. Int J Oncol. 2011 Jun;38(6):1675-82. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.996. Epub 2011 Apr 4. PubMed PMID: 21468543.

9. Ristić-Medić D, Ristić G, Tepsić V. [Alpha-linolenic acid and cardiovascular diseases]. Med Pregl. 2003;56 Suppl 1:19-25. Serbian. PubMed PMID: 15510909.