19 Super Health Benefits of Raw Pumpkin Seeds

19 Super Health Benefits of Raw Pumpkin Seeds

May 2nd, 2014 by Loretta Lanphier

19 Super Health Benefits of Raw Pumpkin Seeds

The health benefits of raw pumpkin seeds are quite amazing. Did you know that just one cup (64 grams) of pumpkin seeds contains 44% daily value (DV) of zinc, 22% of copper, 42% magnesium, 16% manganese, 17% potassium, and enough iron (17% DV) to make a measureable difference in iron-deficiency associated anemia? It’s good to remember that the minerals in real food are much more bioavailable and biocompatible than inorganic forms.

Pumpkin seeds, as well as pumpkins, are an indigenous species are found across North America, South America, and Central America. Pumpkin seeds are also a favorite in Mexican cuisine. The Spanish word for pumpkin seeds is “pepita” which is consistent with its origin since the Spanish phrase “pepita de calabaza” means “little seed of squash.”

Native American tribes treasured pumpkin seeds for dietary and medicinal properties. Pumpkin seeds were used as a dense source of nutrition at least as far back as the Aztec cultures of 1300-1500 AD. They were introduced to the Americas as well as the rest of the world through trade and exploration over many centuries.

Currently, China is the world leader in producing pumpkins and pumpkin seeds. Other major producers include India, Russia, the Ukraine, Mexico, and the United States. Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins in the USA followed by California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York. However, pumpkins are now grown commercially in virtually all U.S. states, and over 100,000 acres of U.S. farmland are planted with pumpkins.

Pumpkin seeds are the only types of seed that are alkaline-forming. Pumpkin seeds are also a complete, plant-based protein containing all the essential and non-essential amino acids, which serve as the building blocks of protein and are vital for muscle regeneration and the development of lean body tissue.

19 Super Health Benefits of Raw Pumpkin Seeds

  • provides benefits for heart & liver health
  • may help improve insulin regulation
  • prevents calcium oxalate kidney stone formation
  • rich in B-complex
  • excellent source of plant-based omega-3s
  • antimicrobial & anti-viral
  • good source of Vitamin K
  • good for prostate health
  • good source of Vitamin E
  • may reduce levels of LDL cholesterol
  • has a diuretic effect
  • 3.5 ounces provides 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA), zinc (71%)
  • 1/4 cup contains nearly 1/2 of RDA for magnesium
  • excellent source of  tryptophan which converts to GABA in the brain
  • helps with sleep
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • antioxidant properties
  • anti-fungal & anti-parasitic properties
  • good source of dietary fiber

DID YOU KNOW? Women who supplemented with 2,000 mg of pumpkin seed oil over the course of 12 weeks were found to have reduced blood pressure, increased HDL cholesterol, as well as reduction in the severity of hormone insufficiency associated symptoms (hot flashes, headaches and join pain).  Additional experimental research indicates that adverse cardiovascular changes associated with estrogen deficiency, such as blood pressure and lipid abnormalities, can be mitigated with pumpkin seed oil.

Health Benefits of Raw Pumpkin Seeds

Serving Ideas for Raw Pumpkin Seeds

  • Add raw pumpkin seeds to organic sautéed vegetables.
  • Add organic, freshly ground raw pumpkin seeds to your daily smoothie.
  • Sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on top of mixed green salads.
  • Grind raw pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves. Mix with cold-pressed olive oil and fresh lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.
  • Add raw pumpkin seeds or freshly ground raw pumpkin seeds to your gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe.
  • When making organic veggie, turkey or beef burgers, add some freshly ground raw pumpkin seeds to the mixture.

Healthy Raw Pumpkin Seed Smoothie Recipe

Serving Size: 1

Ingredient List

9 oz Almond milk
1 Medium banana (frozen)
¾ Cup frozen organic mixed berries
1 Handful organic spinach
2 Tbsp freshly ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp freshly ground raw pumpkin seeds
Stevia or raw honey (if desired)
Handful of ice from purified water

Directions

Combine ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blend until desired consistency. Enjoy!

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Cinnamon & Cayenne Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Ingredient List

4 1/2 Cups raw pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons raw coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Crystal Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place raw pumpkin seeds (make sure they are dry) in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients.
Pour the spiced coconut oil over the pumpkin seeds in the large bowl mixing well to evenly coat all the seeds.
Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake the pumpkin seeds, stirring and tossing occasionally, 20-30 minutes or until roasted.
Remove pumpkin seeds from oven and allow to cool. Serve.
Refrigerate remaining leftovers in an airtight container for no more than five days.

Options: Just about any of your favorite nuts and seeds may be used in this recipe.

Should Pumpkin Seeds Be Soaked?

Raw nuts contain a significant amount of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Phytic acid is useful to keep the seeds safe until germination. When eaten by humans phytic acid binds to minerals in the digestive tract and can cause irritation which can then cause nutrient deficiencies. The enzyme inhibitors act to prevent the nut or seed from sprouting prematurely in nature. However, these enzyme inhibitors can also cause digestive tract concerns by binding up much needed minerals. Most who promote the health benefits of raw nuts and seeds fail to mention the fact that many of the nutrients they contain are unable to properly assimilate in their raw form.

The phytates and enzyme inhibitors that make nuts and seeds so problematic to digest can be neutralized by soaking in salt water and then low temperature dehydrating.

Soaking the seeds and nuts seems to help them taste so much better, but more importantly, it makes the nutrients more available to your body. If you find yourself eating a lot of nuts or seeds, soaking your raw seeds and nuts will most likely be helpful to you since the higher levels of enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid may be problematic. Soaking and dehydrating your organic raw nuts and seeds before consuming gives them a taste similar to roasted nuts, but without the added harmful vegetable oils or high temperature.

While you can purchase quality organic pre-soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds, you can get the same results by soaking your own at home. Of course, it does require some time investment, but most people find it is worth the time in order to get great-tasting seeds and nuts that are bioavailable to your body.

Research and Resources

Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 May 5. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21545273

Supplementation with pumpkin seed oil improves plasma lipid profile and cardiovascular outcomes of female non-ovariectomized and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):873-7. PMID: 18567058

[Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas]. Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2004 Oct-Dec;24(4):323-7. PMID: 15614300

In Vitro antioxidative activity of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate and its In Vivo effect on alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase in acetaminophen-induced liver injury in low protein fed rats. Phytother Res. 2006 Sep ;20(9):780-3. PMID: 16807884

Loretta Lanphier is a Naturopathic Practitioner (Traditional), Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Clinical Herbalist as well as the CEO / Founder of Oasis Advanced Wellness in The Woodlands TX. She has studied and performed extensive research in health science, natural hormone balancing, anti-aging techniques, nutrition, natural medicine, weight loss, herbal remedies, non-toxic cancer support and is actively involved in researching new natural health protocols and products.  A 14 year stage 3 colon cancer survivor, Loretta is able to relate to both-sides-of-the-health-coin as patient and practitioner when it comes to health and wellness. “My passion is counseling others about what it takes to keep the whole body healthy using natural and non-toxic methods.” Read Loretta’s health testimony Cancer: The Path to Healing. Loretta is Contributor and Editor of the worldwide E-newsletter Advanced Health & Wellness. Check out Oasis Advanced Wellness and our natural skin care products Oasis Serene Botanicals.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.
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