Pumpkin Seed Oil Nutrition and Dosage
Traditional Styrian pumpkin seed oil is made from lightly roasted pumpkin seeds that are pressed to extract a dark green oil. It has a rich and nutty flavor that makes a great salad dressing and healthy, flavorsome addition to many recipes.
Ahead is a look at all of the nutrition in pumpkin seed oil, whether you should choose roasted or raw, and the best dose to take it in for maximum benefit.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Nutritional Profile
Pumpkin seed oil is a highly nutritious superfood with many health benefits. It contains significant levels of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin K, and beneficial compounds like phytosterols and delta-7-sterol.
Beneficial Fatty Acids
The main four fatty acids it contains are linoleic acid (omega-6), oleic acid (omega-9) and palmitic and stearic acid (saturated). While many people are fearful of fats, we definitely need them in our diet if we want to stay healthy.
Linoleic acid, for instance, is needed for proper brain function, regulating metabolism, growth and development and maintaining healthy hair and skin, to name just a few health benefits.
Oleic acid has been shown to help lower our blood levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and increase levels of HDL cholesterol (the beneficial type). Because of this, a good intake of omega-9 oleic acid in our diet may help prevent or even treat heart disease.
Even the smaller amounts of saturated palmitic and stearic fat are beneficial, if they come from a healthy source like this. These fats are involved in proper cellular function, hormone creation, nutrient assimilation and many other important processes in our body.
Cold pressed pumpkin seed oil is high in vitamin E, especially the gamma-tocopherol form, which is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
It is also a source of vitamin K, which helps regulate calcium metabolism and beta carotene for vitamin A and more antioxidant protection.
Beta-sitosterol and Delta-7-sterol
Delta-7-sterol and phytosterols are two interesting compounds found in pumpkin seed oil that have been studied for their health benefits.
Delta-7-sterol is a kind of mild steroid that competes with dihydrotestosterone in the body. DHT is known to be a significant factor in both an enlarged prostate and hair loss, but many men have reported positive results with regular use of the oil.
Phytosterols are plant sterols that can interfere with cholesterol absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Eating foods high in phytosterols, may help reduce your LDL cholesterol levels over time.
There are many types of phytosterols, but one called beta-sitosterol is particularly beneficial for men. Beta-sitosterol can inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone and pumpkin seed oil is a good source.
Most men, especially those experiencing hair loss or prostate problems, would benefit from a little less dihydrotestosterone in their bodies. Snacking on pumpkin seeds or regularly using pumpkin seed oil is a simple way to get more DHT blocking beta-sitosterol into your diet.
Roasted or Raw?
Roasted Styrian pumpkin seed oil is considered quite a delicacy. The flavor is rich and nutty and far more intense than regular bland salad oils.
It should not be used as a frying oil, but can be added to the end of cooking to dishes like soups and sauces for a wonderful flavor and extra nutrition. The oil is particularly good drizzled over salads, perhaps with a little fresh lemon juice, to make an amazing salad dressing.
Unfortunately, there is some question as to whether the heat used to roast the pumpkin seeds may damage some of the fatty acids in the oil and possibly the vitamin E as well. For this reason, raw pumpkin seed oil is recommended for people using it primarily for its health benefits.
While raw pumpkin oil does not usually have such an intense flavor as the roasted oil, it still tastes good as a salad dressing and added to recipes after cooking.
If it is being used as a supplement though, for prostate problems, hair loss or just for its beneficial effect on our health, it would be best to take it more regularly, ideally on a daily basis.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Dosage and Timing
There are two ways to take pumpkin seed oil. In 1000 mg capsules, which are admittedly more convenient and portable. Or by the teaspoon from the bottle, which is usually better value and more enjoyable if you like the taste. Remember to keep it in the fridge if you go for this option.
It is best taken just after a meal, rather than on an empty stomach, to improve absorption of both its nutrients and those present in other foods as well. After breakfast and after dinner would be ideal. It has a rich, nutty flavor that most people should enjoy.
Studies would seem to suggest a dosage of at least 1000 mg twice a day would be the minimum needed for therapeutic benefit. This isn’t actually that much though. Personally, I take it by the teaspoon, which is approximately 4000 milligrams, twice a day.
For benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment or to possibly reduce hair loss, the raw oil may be taken after every meal. It is usually more beneficial to spread out the amount you’re using rather than having it all in one dose.
At least a teaspoon each time would be a good dosage for this purpose. Consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional if you are being treated for prostate problems, but pumpkin seed oil has no regularly reported side effects.
Pumpkin seed oil is becoming more popular and is now possible to get it in a much greater variety of brands and at a better price than ever before. The page on where to find it online has both gourmet roasted Styrian and raw organic options, as well as capsules and extracts.
I’d appreciate hearing from anyone who has been taking pumpkin seed oil for a while and your thoughts on what kind of effects it has had on your health.