Halloween is right around the corner and many of us are carving our jack-o-lanterns to decorate our homes – but don’t throw out that messy mass of seeds that you just scooped out. No instead, save these precious seeds as they provide numerous health benefits for you and your family!
New research has shown multiple health benefits from pumpkin seeds. Specifically, Cucurbita pepo, a member of the gourd family has significant medicinal uses. Although there are many different varieties of pumpkins, the two most studied are C. pepo and C. maxima.
For thousands of years, the ancient Chinese have used pumpkin seed to treat a variety of maladies. Now, alternative medicine practitioners are using pumpkin seeds to treat a wide list of ailments, including the management of a very common male condition, benign prostatic hypertrophy, which affects an estimated 15 million men in the United States. (2) Pumpkin seeds have also been shown to protect against high blood pressure (hypertension) and have cardio-protective effects. (3)
Why do pumpkin seeds have health benefits?
The health benefits of pumpkin seeds is largely related to their high concentration of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (remember, fish oils??) These components have a powerful antioxidant effect on swollen membranes, specifically in the male and female urinary system. That’s why pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil have shown benefits with both female overactive bladder and male benign prostatic hypertrophy.
How are pumpkin seed products supplied?
Various forms include pumpkin seed oil extracts, ground meal of the whole seed and pumpkin seed butter. However it is easy to go right to the source!! After scooping out the seeds, just clean them by rinsing under cold water. Dry seeds with a paper towel, spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (or butter and you can add spices) and roast at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Here are more recipes!
To health and happiness!
- Hollingworth, JM et al. Rev. Urol, 2006; 8 ( Suppl 3): S9-S15. Available at ncbi/nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1686802
- El-Mosallamy, AE et al. J. Med Food, 2012;15(2): 180-189. www.clinicaladvisor.com/alternative-meds-update/managing-benign-prostatic-hypertrophy-with-pumpkin-seeds/article/441707/2/
- Nishimura, M. et al. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014; 41 (1): 72-74. Available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032845