The Health Benefits of Pumpkins
Mostly known for being a part of Halloween decorations or a pie filling, pumpkins are
also packed with nutrition and offer a wide range of health benefits. Pumpkins are a
storehouse of vitamins , mineral and other healthy nutrients. Whether it is the pulp or the
seeds, pumpkins are great for your health and can offer some incredible benefits.
Nutritional Composition of Pumpkins
High Carotenoids Content – Pumpkins owe their bright Orange color to the high amount
of carotenoids present in them. Carotenoids assist in staving off the free radicals in the
body, and help in preventing premature aging, cardiovascular diseases and other
infections. They are also high in Lutein & Zeaxanthin which protect the eyes against free
radical damage and prevent formation of cataracts and degeneration of the eye tissues.
Protein – Pumpkin seeds also known as Pepitas are a rich source of protein. One ounce of
pumpkin seeds contains approx. 7 grams of protein. Their oil is high in phytosterols or
plant-based fatty acids and their chemical composition is the same as cholesterol .
Phytosterols can replace cholesterol in the body, and help in reducing the blood
Essential Fatty Acids – Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of essential fatty acids, which
have numerous health benefits. From providing protection against serious health diseases
such as high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer to promoting healthy skin and improving
brain power, essential fatty acids present in pumpkin oil offer several health benefits.
Vitamin A – Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamin A. Regular consumption of pumpkin
(both seeds and flesh) can promote the health of your eyes and boost your immune
Vitamin C - Vitamin C helps fight free radicals, improves immunity and promotes the
production of collagen. The high Vitamin C content in pumpkins also offers protection
against various forms of cancer.
Magnesium - Both the pulp and seeds of pumpkin are rich in magnesium, which is an
important mineral required for various biological functions. Magnesium is also required
for the maintenance bones and teeth.
Potassium & Zinc – Pumpkin is loaded with potassium and Zinc. Studies show that
eating a potassium-rich diet can prevent onset of cardiovascular diseases and
hypertension. Zinc is important for providing bone density support for people at risk for
osteoporosis. It boosts the immune system and promotes reproductive health.
Fiber – Pumpkin flesh is very low in calories and contains abundant quantities of
extremely good dietary fiber. It is extremely effective for treating gastrointestinal
lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood and in regulating the blood sugar
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Flesh and Seeds
Prostate Cancer – The protective compounds present within the pumpkin seeds, called
phytosterols can lower the risk of prostate cancer. These work by shrinking the prostate
and stimulating the secretion of chemicals that protect against the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High DHT levels can cause enlargement of the prostate glands.
Anti-Inflammatory Effect – The Beta carotene present in pumpkin seeds and flesh has
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of pumpkin can
protect against joint inflammation and arthritis. Pumpkins have been known to provide
relief from inflammation quickly, without the harmful side-effects of anti-inflammatory
Great on your skin – The high amount of Vitamin A, C and E as well as Zinc present in
pumpkin, make it a great choice for those who want a healthy and glowing skin. Have a
cup of pumpkin seeds per day to prevent appearance of wrinkles and to keep your skin
hydrated and nourished.
Prevents Kidney Stones – Have 5 to 10 grams of pumpkin seeds every day. This
stimulates the kidneys and prevents the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
Depression – Pumpkin flesh contains L-tryptophan, a chemical compound that triggers
feelings of well-being and happiness. Having pumpkin as a part of your daily diet can
keep your spirits high and prevent depression.
Treatment of Parasites – In various cultures especially China, pumpkins are used to treat
infections caused by tapeworms and other parasites.
Diuretics – Pumpkins are natural diuretics. These help in flushing out the toxins and
unwanted waste material from the body, leaving you refreshed and healthy.
With so many health benefits, it is no wonder that pumpkin is an important part of the list
of Super Foods . Next time you are carving a pumpkin, do not throw away the pulp or the
seeds – instead boil, bake or cook them in any form you like.