Pumpkin is not just a vegetable for the holidays. It should be used year round to help your metabolism and physical health due to the high anti-oxidants, good fatty acids, and zinc and tryptophan levels.
Today, the major producer of this gourd plant, Curcurbita, or pumpkin is USA, followed by Mexico, India and China.
In Mexico the seeds are called pepitas.
Pumpkin seed oil is made from roasted pumpkin seeds, which are then pressed to release oil. It is best to not heat or use this oil in cooking due to its low smoke point. You can use it to dress salads.
The oil is made up of healthy polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated oils that are the healthy compounds you need for health.
Special Reasons to Use Pumpkin Seed Oil
- Relief for menopause symptoms
- Support for Prostate health, a Japanese study showed for men over 65 years old there was dramatic relief of urinary symptoms due to BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
- Excellent source of tryptophan for better night’s sleep.
- Improve heart health, by decreasing cholesterol.
- Helps with urinary incontinence and an overactive bladder by decreasing the amount of times you have to urinate.
- Effective at helping diabetes by increasing insulin resistance.
- Reduces inflammation and pain from arthritis.
- Gives you younger looking skin by hydrating and firming skin. It is used in many skin care products on the market today.
- Higher zinc levels can increase testosterone and can result in better sex drives.
- Improves eye health due to the high contents of a carotenoid, zeaxanthin, which protects eyes from UV and blue light damage. This is great protection to prevent macular degeneration.
Besides above points, Pumpkin seeds have been found to helps boost bone density preventing osteoporosis; this is due to the mineral content.
Pumpkin seeds are high in the essential amino acid tryptophan that converts to serotonin which may help alleviate anxiety.
Pumpkin Seed Nutrition
Pumpkin seeds are high protein, high fiber and have minerals of zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorous. They also have good amounts of vitamin K and vitamin E.
How to Use Pumpkin Seed Oil
You can use pumpkin seed oil in recipes for uncooked dishes, like salads, dips, salsas, or in smoothies.
Or you can lightly roast pumpkin seed in either coconut oil or pumpkin seed oil as a snack. Remember to use light heat for pumpkin oil.
You can use pumpkin seed oil in products for skin and hair care. You can use it directly to smooth on skin to prevent aging.
Side Effects of Pumpkin Seed Oil
It is possible to be allergic to pumpkin or to react with skin irritation.
It can lower blood pressure, so if you already take blood pressure meds, please monitor your levels so they do not go to low.
A few reports have found pumpkin seed oil can cause digestive upset, if so check to make sure the oil is not too old or expired, if over one year old, it can become rancid.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses.