Pumpkin seeds contain several major groups of active constituents: essential fatty acids, amino acids, mucilaginous carbohydrates, phytosterols (e.g. beta-sitosterol), minerals, and vitamins. It takes about 142 seeds to equal 1 ounce (29gms) which supplies 4.2mg or iron and 2.1mg or zinc.
When considering pumpkin seed oil, the cold pressed oil is the best to use since heating destroys some of the essential fatty acids. Cooking with this oil is not recommended for this same reason. The process to obtain this oil is complicated and delicate, making the oil more expensive than some other seed oils.
Pumpkin seeds are best eaten raw. They are great tossed in salads, as part of a trail mix, or ground up and added to other prepared food dishes. Pumpkin seeds may cause an upset stomach, but are otherwise very safe.
Pumpkin Seeds can help with the following
Curcurbitin is a constituent in pumpkin seeds that has shown anti-parasitic activity in the test tube. Human trials conducted in China have shown pumpkin seeds to be helpful for people with acute schistosomiasis. Preliminary human research conducted in China and Russia has shown pumpkin seeds may also help resolve tapeworm infestations. As a treatment for parasites, 200-400 grams (7-14 ounces) are ground and taken with milk and honey, followed by castor oil two hours later.
Due to the purported L-tryptophan content of pumpkin seeds, their use has been suggested to help treat depression. Further research is needed before pumpkin seeds should be considered for this purpose.
Pumpkin seeds have long been used by naturopathic physicians in treating prostate disorders. The efficacy of pumpkin seeds is thought to be due to their high content of essential fatty acids, zinc and plant sterols. Men with BPH have used 160mg tid with meals of a standardized pumpkin seed oil extract in trials to examine its usefulness. Animal studies have shown that pumpkin seed extracts can improve the function of the bladder and urethra also.
Kidney Stones (Urolithiasis)
Two Thailand studies have suggested that eating pumpkin seeds as a snack can help prevent the most common type of kidney stone. The mechanism of action has not been identified. Approximately 5-10gm per day of pumpkin seeds are needed for stone prevention.
Male Hair Loss
Pumpkin seed oil may affect the activity of testosterone in the body in similar fashion to saw palmetto. While pumpkin seed products are under investigation for their beneficial properties so far, no experiments have been reported that directly relate to androgen activity in disease.
|May do some good|
|Likely to help|
Essential Fatty Acid
(EFA): A substance that the human body cannot manufacture and therefore must be supplied in the diet.
The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.
Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.
(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.
(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.
An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.
An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.
A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.