Pumpkin seeds are an edible seed typically roasted for consumption. They are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and are often eaten as a healthful snack.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of healthful oils, magnesium, and other nutrients that enhance the health of the heart, bones, and other functions.
Seeds, in general, are considered excellent sources of potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Plant seeds are also a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and antioxidants.
The fatty acids in pumpkin seeds contain a range of beneficial nutrients, such as sterols, squalene, and tocopherols. Researchers have described the fatty acid profile of seeds, grains, and legumes as “favorable.”
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc and copper. Magnesium helps improve mood and sleep, while manganese plays a role in collagen production and promotes skin and bone health. Iron and copper are involved with energy production, and iron also helps transport oxygen to our cells. Zinc supports immunity, skin health and vision. Just one serving of pumpkin seeds can supply 14% to 42% of the daily target for these essential nutrients.
In addition to minerals, these mighty seeds are also packed with cell-protective antioxidants, including carotenoids and vitamin E. In addition to reducing inflammation, antioxidants help fend off premature aging and chronic diseases.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. Only a small fraction of ALA gets converted into the important DHA and EPA omega-3s, which are found in fatty fish like salmon. However, ALA benefits include protecting against heart disease, reducing risk of artery hardening and fighting inflammation.
On top of pepitas being low in carbs and a good source of plant protein, research suggests that eating pumpkin seeds may help protect against type 2 diabetes or reduce its complications in other ways, such as improving insulin regulation and protecting organs against the consequences of diabetes.
In addition to zinc and iron, which are both vital for immune function, pepitas possess anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. They are also not a common trigger of allergies and intolerances.
Research shows that both pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil help to protect prostate health. The seeds’ zinc content may also support male fertility, as low zinc levels have been tied to reduced sperm quality.