Raw Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition & Why They Are So Good For You
Here is a detailed look at the high levels of nutrition in raw pumpkin seeds and just how much calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other health nutrients they contain.
Calories in Pumpkin Seeds
Nutritional data shows pumpkin seeds have 125 calories per 1 ounce (28grams) and 285 calories per cup (64 grams) of pumpkin seeds.
Keep in mind with these figures that pumpkin seeds are very filling and you don’t need to eat a huge amount of them as they are bursting with nutrition.
Pumpkin Seeds Fat Content
An ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 5.4 grams of fat. According to nutrition information, this is primarily monounsaturated fat (1.7 grams) and polyunsaturated (2.5 grams), with only 1 gram of saturated fat.
Old nutritional advice tended to focus far too much on the amount of fat in foods, without recognising how important natural fatty acids are for good health. If you’re watching your weight then simple carbohydrates, not fat, is the macronutrient you really should be concerned about.
Carbohydrates in Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Despite their calories and fat content, raw pumpkin seeds make a great addition to low carb diets and are particularly useful for snacking (most low carb diet plans are decidedly light on good snack options).
An ounce of raw pumpkin seeds has only 4 grams of carbs. With their very high protein content, fiber and healthy fats, carbohydrates are really not figuring into pumpkin seeds nutrition significantly.
Raw pumpkin seeds also have a very low glycemic index of 10 and are considered to have a negligible glycemic load. Combine this with how eating just a small amount of them really fills you up and you’re unlikely to put on weight eating pumpkin seeds.
In fact, if you were to swap high carb snacks like potato crisps for a bag of raw pumpkin seeds like these, you’d be far more likely to lose weight instead.
Raw Pumpkin Seeds for Protein
Pumpkin seeds would have to have one of the highest protein content of any commonly eaten seed or nut. At around 9 grams of protein per 28 grams (1 ounce) of seeds they are close to a full third protein.
Vegetarians or vegans looking to increase their healthy protein intake would do well to get pumpkin seeds in bulk and snack on a handful or two each day.
The tryptophan content is quite high in raw pumpkin seeds. Tryptophan is an important amino acid that converts to the neurotransmitter serotonin in our brain.
A good intake of tryptophan in our diets is believed to have a beneficial effect on our mood, reduce anxiety and stress and help improve sleeping patterns.
A deficiency of tryptophan on the other hand is associated with increased stress levels, unhappiness, trouble sleeping and even depression.
Raw pumpkin seeds nutrition also includes an unusual amino acid called cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin can actually paralyze intestinal parasites like tapeworms, helping to expel them from the body and ground pumpkin seeds mixed with milk and honey is a traditional German cure for intestinal worms.
Pumpkin Seed Fiber
Pumpkin seeds have a good fiber content, with one ounce containing about 1 gram of dietary fiber. This fiber is predominantly insoluble fiber with a little soluble fiber in there as well.
This figure is for those commercially available without the shell. One way to really increase the fiber content of pumpkin seeds is to eat them straight out of the pumpkins you use for cooking.
You can lightly saute them on a low heat with organic virgin coconut oil and tamari for an amazing taste. This will soften up the shells, but try not to cook them for too long or with too much heat to preserve the valuable fatty acids.
Pumpkin Seed Minerals
Pumpkin seeds are a very beneficial source of minerals and have high levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc. There are also good amounts of other minerals like potassium, sodium and selenium.
Magnesium is vital for maintaining healthy nerve and muscle function, supporting our immune system, energy metabolism and a wide variety of vital processes within our body. Despite its importance, many people eating a Western diet are lacking in magnesium.
Just a quarter of a cup of pumpkin seeds has close to half the recommended daily allowance of magnesium (but I’d really recommend getting more than that).
Magnesium is a very important mineral for health and energy but much of our over-processed food is depleted in it. Superfoods like raw pumpkin seeds are an ideal source, but unless you’re eating them daily it may be worth looking at other options.
Many people take oral magnesium supplements, however these are said to be rarely absorbed well. Magnesium oil on the other hand has been shown to be a very effective way to increase your intake.
Zinc is another standout in the mineral stakes for this superfood. Zinc is particularly important for men and the high levels found in pumpkin seeds are believed to be one of the reasons it has such a beneficial effect on the prostate gland.
Zinc is also involved in maintaining proper glucose levels, preventing infections, wound healing and skin repair and is necessary for a healthy libido.
Vitamins in Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of B vitamins and a small amount of vitamin C. They also have good levels of vitamin E and the often hard to get vitamin K.
When raw, the seeds of pumpkin are particularly high in the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E. Gamma-tocopherol is considered to be much more of an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory than the more common alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E.
Vitamin K is an important fat soluble vitamin that many people are believed to be deficient in. A good vitamin K intake helps maintain proper bone density and reduces your risk of heart disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis and many other illnesses associated with abnormal calcium metabolism.
Snacking on raw pumpkin seeds at work or in the evening is a simple and delicious way to get more of this valuable nutrient into your diet.
Other Nutritional Benefits of Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds are high in the antioxidant lutein, especially important for healthy eyes. The gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E, selenium and zinc already mentioned are also potent antioxidants.
There are significant levels of phytosterols in pumpkin seeds (around 260 mg per 100 grams). Phytosterols can help decrease LDL cholesterol absorption and high levels in the diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Pumpkin seeds also contain a compound called delta-7-sterine that competes with dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT can have a damaging effect when it accumulates in the cells of a man’s prostate gland, causing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate.
Delta-7-sterine in high levels in the diet seems to help reduce prostate cell multiplication caused by DHT. It may also block DHT from damaging hair follicles that leads to hair loss.
Eating raw pumpkin seeds like these is a good way to get delta-7-sterine into your diet, but pumpkin seed oil is an even more concentrated source. Many men have reported regular use of the oil beneficial for treating prostate problems and preventing hair loss.
Despite their calories, raw pumpkin seeds are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and have a lot of other beneficial nutrition in them. They quickly fill you and make for a tasty and unusually healthy snack. If you’ve never tried them before, the next page is on where to find them online at a low price.