Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and may be associated with health benefits, including improved fertility, better heart health, and enhanced blood sugar control.
Pumpkin seeds may be small, but they’re packed full of valuable nutrients.
Eating only a small amount of them can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium, and zinc.
Because of this, pumpkin seeds have been associated with several health benefits, including improved heart health, prostate health, and protection against certain cancers.
What’s more, these seeds can be easily incorporated into your diet.
Here are the top 11 health benefits of pumpkin seeds that are supported by science.
Pumpkin seeds are also known as “pepitas,” a Mexican Spanish term.
Unlike the hard white seeds from a carving pumpkin, most pumpkin seeds bought at the supermarket don’t have a shell.
These shell-free seeds are green, flat, and oval.
In addition, a 1-oz (28-g) serving contains the following nutrients (
- Carbs: 3 g
- Protein: 8.6 g
- Fat: 14 g
- Fiber: 1.7 g
- Manganese: 56% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Copper: 42% of the DV
- Magnesium: 40% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 28% of the DV
- Zinc: 20% of the DV
- Iron: 14% of the DV
Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium, and many other nutrients. 1 oz (28 g) contains about 160 calories.
It’s thought that the high levels of antioxidants in pumpkins seeds are partly responsible for their positive effects on health.
In one older study, pumpkin seed oil reduced inflammation in rats with arthritis without side effects, whereas animals given an anti-inflammatory drug experienced adverse effects (
Pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants that may help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.
Some research suggests that pumpkin seeds may contain plant compounds that could help protect against cancer growth (
Other older studies suggest that the lignans in pumpkin seeds may play a key role in preventing and treating breast cancer (
Furthermore, one test-tube study found that pumpkin seed extract had the potential to slow down the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells (
Some evidence suggests that pumpkin seeds may help prevent certain types of cancer.
Pumpkin seeds may help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges, causing problems with urination.
In a 2021 study, pumpkin seed oil consumption was able to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in 73 people with BPH. Additionally, though pumpkin seed oil was not as effective as a prescription medication, it was associated with fewer negative side effects (
Further research suggests that taking pumpkin seeds or their products as supplements can help treat symptoms of an overactive bladder.
One older study in 45 people with overactive bladders found that taking 10 g of pumpkin seed oil extract daily improved urinary function (
Pumpkin seeds may reduce symptoms of benign prostate enlargement and an overactive bladder.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium, a mineral that is often lacking in the diets of many Western populations.
In the United States, around 48% of adults have a magnesium intake below the recommended daily amount (
- controlling blood pressure
- reducing heart disease risk
- forming and maintaining healthy bones
- regulating blood sugar levels
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium. Healthy magnesium levels are important for your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as heart and bone health.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, and unsaturated fats, all of which may help keep your heart healthy (
One older, 12-week study in 35 postmenopausal women found that pumpkin seed oil supplements reduced diastolic blood pressure by 7% and increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels by 16% (
Nitric oxide helps expand blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of plaque growth in your arteries (
Nutrients in pumpkin seeds may help keep your heart healthy by reducing blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol.
One study in healthy adults found that those who consumed meals containing 65 g (about 2 oz) of pumpkin seeds had lower blood sugar levels after a high carb meal (
Interestingly, the high magnesium content of pumpkin seeds may be responsible for its positive effect on diabetes.
One large observational study found that people who consumed the highest amount of magnesium had a 15% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consumed the lowest amount over a 28-year period (
Still, more research is needed to confirm these beneficial effects of pumpkin seeds on blood sugar levels.
Pumpkin seeds may help reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed.
A diet high in fiber can promote good digestive health (
Whole pumpkin seeds are a good source of fiber. Diets high in fiber are associated with many health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Low zinc levels are associated with reduced sperm quality and an increased risk of infertility in males (
Since pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc, they may improve sperm quality.
Interestingly, evidence from one animal study found that supplementing with pumpkin seed oil and vitamin E improved sperm quality and reproductive performance in roosters (
Together, all these factors may benefit fertility levels and reproductive function, especially in males.
The high zinc content of pumpkin seeds may help improve sperm quality and male fertility.
However, note that you would need to eat around 6 oz (170 g) of pumpkin seeds to achieve the needed amount of tryptophan (
However, more research is needed.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of tryptophan and magnesium, both of which help promote good sleep.
If you want to experience the benefits of pumpkin seeds, they’re easy to incorporate into your diet.
In many countries, they’re a popular snack that can be eaten either raw or roasted and salted or unsalted.
Besides eating them on their own, you can add them to smoothies, Greek yogurt, and fruit bowls.
You could incorporate them into meals by sprinkling them into salads, soups, or cereals. Some people use pumpkin seeds in baking, as an ingredient for sweet or savory bread and cakes.
Pumpkin seeds can be easily incorporated into your diet as a snack or ingredient in meals or baking.
Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and packed with powerful antioxidants.
Eating them can help solve dietary deficiencies and may protect against various health problems.
In fact, pumpkin seeds have been shown to improve heart health, blood sugar levels, fertility, and sleep quality. They may even protect against certain types of cancer.
In addition, their rich nutrient content may provide other health benefits, such as improved energy, mood, and immune function.
What’s best, they can easily be added to your diet, allowing you to reap their many positive effects.