Tis the season for all things pumpkin, just in time to reap the incredible health and skin benefits of pumpkin seeds! These little guys pack in a nice nutrition punch, loaded with essential fats, minerals, and fiber. Pumpkin seeds are a safe bet for most people as I rarely see food sensitivities or allergies with this food among my clients when testing. This makes it a wonderful substitution for other high allergy nuts and seeds. Incorporate them easily into your diet by sprinkling them onto salads, soups, smoothies, roast them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt for a tasty and crunchy snack or blend them in a food processor with a bit of olive oil to make your own pumpkin butter! So before you just scoop and toss those seeds, think about these health benefits pumpkin seeds can provide.
5 Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Supports Cell Regeneration and Treatment for Psoriasis, Ezcema and Acne
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with Zinc and vitamin E, both which can speed the skin’s healing process helping with everything from acne, scarring and wound repair. Both Zinc and Vitamin E are antioxidants helping to repair damage skin, supporting skin cell renewal and helping to maintain connective collagen. Vitamin E, found in pumpkin seed oil, is known to help diminish the appearance of stretch marks and has been shown to be helpful in treating psoriasis, ezcema and acne. Zinc can help reduce the amount of sebum (natural oil) your skin produces. Some research has found that those with acne have a lower intake of zinc in their diet than those without acne. Both past and recent research have shown that additional zinc intake is a great way to help control acne symptoms:
“A 2000 study published in the European Journal of Dermatology found that taking zinc gluconate supplements helped to treat inflammatory acne, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Another double-blind clinical trial published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 1977, discovered that zinc supplements were equally effective as oxytetracycline, an oral antibiotic sometimes prescribed for treating acne.”
Enhances Beauty Sleep
There’s few things more important in life than sleep, especially when it comes to your health and complexion. If you have trouble sleeping you may not be producing enough melatonin. Not to worry, pumpkin seeds are naturally rich in tryptophan, an amino acid and chemical substance that is a precursor to both melatonin and serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone responsible for our feel good state of being, but yet again, if we don’t produce enough of this hormone our mood may suffer, leading to a grumpy, sad and even depressed state. Instead of that warm glass of milk that has been said to help with sleep, replace it with pumpkin seeds, like these sprouted ones I love , and eat your way to a more restful night’s sleep.
Boosts Immunity and Fights Pathogens
Whether it’s anti-microbial, anti-fungal, or anti-viral properties, pumpkin seeds have it all! They are incredibly effective against parasites as seen in this study from the Journal of Gastroenterology of Peru, reporting the intestinal anti-parasitic benefits of pumpkin seeds. It is said that these seeds were a staple in the Native Americans diet for centuries. They relied on pumpkin seeds not just as a source of food but medicine as well. They would use pumpkin seeds as a treatment for internal parasites, especially tapeworms. There is also history of doctors prescribing pumpkin seeds for urinary problems in the 1900’s. Make sure you consider and address your digestion and the health of your gut when looking to treat skin conditions and boosting immunity.
Balances Hormones Naturally (Great for PMS and Menopausal Symptoms)
These superstar seeds are said to be rich in natural phytoestrogens, which can decrease many common PMS, menopausal and general hormonal symptoms women experience, such as irregular periods, heavy flows, fatigue, acne and breast tenderness to name a few. It’s important to know that estrogen is not bad and is critical for a healthy functioning body, just in balance and not in excess. In non pregnant women, the 2 major biologically active estrogens are estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2). High levels of estradiol is typically the estrogen that has been linked to breast and prostate cancers. In general, women need more estrogen in the first part of their cycle and more progesterone in the second.
Day 1 to Day 15 estrogen is needed to build the endometrium, aka the uterus lining. An incredible benefit of pumpkin seeds is that they can naturally increase our estrogen levels, balancing out our cycle, minimizing and even getting rid of symptoms. Although these symptoms may be very common among women, that doesn’t mean they are normal. Many women today suffer from hormonal imbalances whether they know it or not if they have any type of discomfort due to their cycle or while in menopause. This is typically due to the toxic high pressured world we live in from environmental factors, excessive cortisol (caused by high coffee/ alcohol consumption and/ or lack of sleep), poor diet, digestive issues and even food sensitivities. These all can lead to irregularity, PMS symptoms, peri-menopause/ menopause symptoms and even difficult becoming pregnant.
Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails.
Where there are seeds there is oil, and the benefits of pumpkin seeds and it’s oil has been studied for it’s beautifully rich source of essential fatty acids (EFAs). They are a great source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which converts to omega 3 essential fats, crucial for healthy skin, hair and nails, among being systemically anti-inflammatory to the body. Although plant sources such as seeds are a great source of ALA, they require conversion by additional enzymes in the body. If these enzymes are not present because of digestive or blood sugar issues, this conversion may not happen, therefore I recommend mixing your sources from both plant and high quality animal sources, such as fatty fish, or fish oil like this krill oil with powerful antioxidant astaxanthin which is great for the skin! Without EFAs and antioxidants, skin cannot retain moisture and hydration, which can lead to a dry and premature aging of the skin.
Whether it’s pumpkin seeds, or pumpkin oil, this is where many of the health benefits of pumpkin can be found. Many winter squashes such as butternut squash, acorn and spaghetti squash fall into the same family as pumpkin and also have these benefits as well. So next time you buy any type of pumpkin or squash during the fall season, remember to save those seeds to reap the full health benefits.
Smoothies are a great way to easily incorporate pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil into your diet. Get my favorite Healthy Skin Smoothie recipes by signing up to the Wise Roots Nutrition newsletter here.