The Many Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds are a particularly healthy and beneficial food to include in your diet for acne reduction and better looking skin.
As well as improving your appearance, here’s how eating pumpkin seeds regularly can also help treat arthritis symptoms, prevent kidney stones, reduce LDL cholesterol levels and much more.
Pumpkin Seeds for Treating Acne and Better Skin
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent food for improving your skin tone and for treating acne problems. The primary nutritional elements in the seeds that benefit our skin include zinc, selenium, essential fatty acids and vitamin E.
That said, pumpkin seeds have a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other health nutrients. Preventing deficiency in many of these will be likely to be beneficial for our skin, which is often one of the first places to show nutritional problems.
The zinc in pumpkin seeds helps protect skin cells membranes and maintain the connective collagen. Good levels of zinc in our diet also helps promote skin cell renewal, leading to younger, fresher looking skin.
With regards to acne, zinc deficiency has been associated with acne outbreaks and problems with oily skin. Zinc is involved in helping to control both the hormone levels and oil production that have been linked to acne problems.
It is also very important for skin healing, so should help with clearing up any spots that do appear. Many people report a lessening of acne problems when they increase their zinc intake from a good source like these great tasting raw pumpkin seeds.
Selenium provides powerful antioxidant protection for our skin against UV damage, pollution and other environmental damage. It also helps keep skin elastic and subtle.
Increasing selenium intake is often recommended for people suffering from acne. While healthy brazil nuts are probably the best source, pumpkin seeds also contain decent levels of selenium.
Essential Fatty Acids
Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids, necessary for skin to effectively retain good moisture levels. Without adequate levels of EFAs, young skin will start looking older earlier, as it dries out and loses its flexibility and tone.
A diet high in essential fatty acids, especially omega-3s, can also help reduce the appearance of blackheads and acne outbreaks. Flaxseed oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin.
As well as being a premier antioxidant, vitamin E has a wide range of benefits for our skin. It has been shown to help diminish the appearance of stretch marks and help with wound healing.
Good levels of vitamin E in the diet may also assist with treating other skin problems like psoriasis and eczema as well as acne.
As beneficial as pumpkin seeds are for our skin, pumpkin seed oil is an even more concentrated version of all of the fatty acids and fat soluble nutrients that can help improve skin tone and treat acne and other problems.
Pumpkin Seeds and Arthritis
Pumpkin seeds may be beneficial for people suffering from arthritis (and that’s unfortunately a lot of us, with estimates that there will be 67 million Americans with doctor diagnosed arthritis by 2030). Research has shown eating them regularly has a similar effect to the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin.
Pumpkin seeds though, unlike indomethacin, do not increase the level of lipid peroxides in the lining of the joints, which can actually lead to an increase in arthritis symptoms.
Pumpkin seed oil, with its concentrated health nutrients, may be even more beneficial for arthritis sufferers.
Using Pumpkin Seeds for Kidney Stone Prevention
At least two research studies have shown eating pumpkin seeds regularly could help prevent the most common type of kidney stones: calcium oxalate stones.
Pumpkin seeds have compounds that appear to both reduce the levels of substances that create kidney stones whilst at the same time increasing compounds that inhibit kidney stone formation.
5 to 10 grams daily has been suggested as having a beneficial effect on kidney stone prevention and regular consumption would be important.
If you eat them as often as I do, it makes sense to get bulk pumpkin seeds for the price discount and to save on postage.
Cholesterol Reduction with Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have one of the highest contents of phytosterols of any seeds or nuts regularly eaten as a food. At around 260 mg per 100 grams, only pistachio nuts and sunflower seeds are higher.
Phytosterols are plant sterols and stanols that are structurally similar to cholesterol from animal sources. Due to the similarity, phytosterols can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract when consumed in large enough amounts in the diet.
Some researchers put this cholesterol reduction, particularly of LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ kind), at over 10% with moderately high doses of phytosterols (Journal of Nutrition).
Phytosterols supplements are available and may be beneficial when taken with a fatty meal for those who want to reduce their LDL cholesterol levels (consult your doctor if you are currently being treated for cholesterol problems or taking medication).
For most people though, a bag of raw pumpkin seeds to snack on to replace other junk food snacks, may be a good way to potentially reduce LDL cholesterol, along with all the other health benefits. I’ve written about the best pumpkin seeds I’ve found online here.
Other Health Benefits of Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Many other pumpkin seed benefits have being reported, such as a potentially lower risk of osteoporosis, improved bladder function and as a possible aid in the treatment of depression, due to the high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin.
With the level of nutrients in pumpkin seeds, it’s unsurprising that they would be so beneficial for so many different health issues.
Next up is one of the more unusual health benefits of raw pumpkin seeds though: getting rid of parasitic intestinal worms with a special pumpkin seed recipe.
Photo 1 credit with thanks: John Leach