The pumpkin seed (also known as a “pepita”, a Mexican Spanish word) is the edible seed of a pumpkin. The seeds have a light green color, are flat and oval-shaped, and have a white outer shell.
The seeds are high in nutrients and calories, including a high level of fats (especially linoleic and oleic acids), protein, fiber and a number of micronutrients. Pumpkin seeds are typically roasted and can be eaten whole with the shell intact, or just the hulled kernels.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of healthy fats, magnesium, and other nutrients shown to improve heart and bone health. A single ounce (28g) of pumpkin seeds without the shells has approximately 150 calories, the majority of which come from fat and protein.
The seeds are also high in antioxidants like beta carotene and selenium, and a great source of iron In fact, 1 cup of pumpkin seeds has around 9.5 mg of iron, which is more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of 8 mg for men., as well as a good amount of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and folate.
Pumpkin seeds contain these nutrients as well:
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in antioxidants and possess a good amount of folate, polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, and vitamin B2. Both pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are also loaded with other nutrients and plant compounds, which research shows to have health benefits for men. (1)
Top 10 Pumpkin Seed Benefits For Men
Pumpkin seeds’ benefits for men can differ from their benefits for women, even though there are definite advantages to consuming pumpkin seeds for both sexes. Let’s take a look at the top 8 health benefits that pumpkin seeds offer specifically for men.
1. Boosts Sperm Quality
Men who have low zinc levels may produce poor quality sperm, which can lead to fertility problems. However, pumpkin seeds, which are rich in zinc, may actually increase sperm quality.
For example, one study showed that pumpkin seeds may prevent damage to sperm caused by chemotherapy and autoimmune conditions. (5)
Also, pumpkin seeds contain high amounts of antioxidants and other nutrients which can help to maintain healthy testosterone levels and promote general overall health. The combination of all of these factors can improve fertility and reproductive function, particularly in men.
2. Improves Prostate Gland Health
Regular consumption of pumpkin seeds can provide relief for men with an enlarged prostate. BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a condition where the prostate gland becomes larger, leading to problems with urination. However, pumpkin seeds could help to minimize these problems, and numerous studies have shown that the seeds reduce the symptoms of BPH. (3)
For example, a year-long study of more than 1,400 men with enlarged prostates revealed that pumpkin seed consumption was associated with reduced symptoms and an improved quality of life. (4)
Other research even showed that taking pumpkin seed supplements could potentially slow down the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells. (5)
3. Good For Cardiovascular Health
Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, magnesium and zinc, which can help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Research shows that pumpkin seed oil could lower high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels, both of which are known to be risk factors for heart disease. (6)
In one study, researchers found that pumpkin oil supplements decreased diastolic blood pressure in participants by 7%, and raised HDL (“good” ) cholesterol levels by 16%. (7)
Other research suggests that pumpkins seeds’ ability to boost nitric dioxide production in the body could be responsible for its beneficial effects on heart health. (8) Nitric oxide helps to relax and widen blood vessels. This improves blood flow and reduces the risk of plaque buildup in your arteries.
4. Promotes Bone Health
Pumpkin seeds are one greatest natural sources magnesium — an essential mineral that is often deficient in Western diets. Approximately 80% of adults in the US receive less than the daily recommended intake of magnesium.
Magnesium plays a vital role in preventing bone loss and maintaining bone health. Your bones actually contain 50-60% of the body’s magnesium.
Some studies have shown that lower levels of this mineral are associated with higher rates of osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become weaker and more fragile. (9)
Research involving patients receiving hemodialysis (a treatment that helps eliminate excess water and waste from the blood), showed three times as many fractures in people who consumed less magnesium compared to those who consumed greater amounts. (10)
Additionally, a review of 12 studies has shown that high magnesium intake is linked to higher bone mineral density in the hips and femurs, which are both prone to fractures. (11)
5. May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Research shows that pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, powdered pumpkin seed, and pumpkin juice can lower blood sugar levels. (12) This is particularly relevant for diabetics, who may have difficulty controlling their blood sugar.
Numerous studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who consume pumpkin juice or pumpkin seed powder experience a reduction in blood sugar levels. (12) These positive effects for diabetics may be due to the high amounts of magnesium found in pumpkin seeds.
Other research studying the magnesium intake of over 127,000 people found that eating a diet high in magnesium was associated with a 33% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes in men. (13) However, the beneficial blood sugar effects of pumpkin seeds are still being confirmed by research.
6. Improves Digestion and Promotes Weight Loss
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber. A 1-ounce (oz) serving of pumpkin seeds contains 1.8 grams (g), which is 6% of the recommended daily value.
A diet high in fiber can promote good digestive health and improve digestion. Fiber can also help to lose fat and maintain a healthy body weight, since it allows you to feel full for longer after eating.
7. May Improve Sleep Quality
Pumpkin seeds are a good choice for those who have difficulty sleeping. These seeds are a good source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that promotes sleep.
It is believed that sleep can be improved by consuming around 1 gram of Tryptophan per day. However, in order to get that amount of tryptophan, you’d need to consume approximately 7 ounces (200 g) of pumpkin seeds.
As already noted, these seeds are a great source of zinc. Zinc can help convert tryptophan into serotonin, and then melatonin – the hormone that governs your sleeping cycle.
Remember also that pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium. Maintaining sufficient levels of magnesium has been linked to better quality sleep. (14)
Additionally, a few small studies have shown that increasing magnesium intake can improve sleep quality and time spent sleeping in individuals with low magnesium levels. (15)
8. Good Source Of Antioxidants
Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin E. Antioxidants are known to lower inflammation in the body and to defend your cells against damaging free radicals. Because of this, eating foods that are high in antioxidants can offer protection against a number of diseases.
The positive health effects associated with pumpkin seeds are believed to be partly due to the high amounts of antioxidants they contain.
For example, one study found that pumpkin seed oil decreased inflammation in rats with arthritis without causing any side effects. However, rats receiving anti-inflammatory medication did experience negative side effects. (16)
Nutrition expert. Blog writer. Health enthusiast.