Pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) are a valuable source of vitamins and minerals that promote good health. You can eat pumpkin seeds raw or roasted as a delicious snack, sprinkle them on salads, or add them to health-boosting smoothies. Pepitas have many health benefits including keeping your heart healthy, helping you get a better sleep, and managing diabetes.
Pumpkin seeds are good for you because they are a complete protein source containing all the 9 essential amino acids. They also have a good amount of fiber, and large amounts of many minerals that you need for a healthy body.
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are also a rich source of healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Pumpkin seed oil (PSO) also has many scientifically-proven health benefits. The rich antioxidant properties in pepita oil help to lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, and improve bladder health. There is even evidence showing that pumpkin seed oil is good for hair loss.
What’s the Difference Between Pepitas and Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds and pepitas are basically the same thing. Pepitas are seeds from the pumpkin without the shells. In Spanish, the word pepita literally means “little seeds of squash.”
Some varieties of pumpkins also have pepitas (shell-less seeds) growing naturally in them.
You can, of course, eat pumpkin seeds raw with their shells still on. You can also buy pumpkin seeds that are unshelled. However, most pumpkin seeds or pepitas sold in supermarkets are shelled seeds.
Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) – Nutrition Facts
Pepitas are a rich source of important minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and amino acids.
Consuming pumpkin seeds every day is a good, healthy source of energy. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 1-oz. (28 g) serving of pumpkin seeds (about 85 seeds) contains 126 calories. 15 grams of carbs and 5.5 grams of fat. (1)
Compared to other nuts, pumpkin seeds are high in carbohydrates. Pumpkin seeds have more than double the number of carbs of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds. If you are on a keto diet, you can still eat pumpkin seeds, but watch your portion size.
The biggest health benefit of eating roasted pumpkin seed is that the seeds contain high levels of micronutrients. For example, 1-oz. (28 g) of pumpkin seeds contains 2.9 mg of zinc which is 19% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). This size of serving also contains 74 mg of magnesium (19% RDI), 260 mg of potassium (7% RDI), and 0.2 mg of copper (10% RDI). (2)
If you have an iron deficiency, then consuming raw pumpkin seeds may be good for you. Data on the nutrition content of row pumpkin kernels show that 2 tablespoons (28 g) of raw pumpkin seeds contain 2.7 mg of iron which is about 14% of your RDI. (3)
A 1-oz. serving of pumpkin seeds also provides you with trace amounts of vitamins A, C, and some B-group vitamins.
Consuming pumpkin seeds regularly is also a good way to get protein because they are a complete protein source. 1-oz. of pumpkin seeds (2 tablespoons) provides 5.6 g protein (10% RDI). (2)
Scientists have found that just under 60% of the weight of pumpkins seeds is protein. Due to the levels of amino acids, fatty acids, and minerals, researchers concluded that pumpkin seeds are a good source of nutrients for men and women. (5)
When using pumpkin seed oil (PSO), it seems that oil made from roasted pepitas is better for you than oil made from raw ones. Researchers found that roasting pumpkin seeds makes the oil more oxidative stable than oil from unroasted seeds. (4)
Antioxidants in pepitas
Pepitas are rich in antioxidants that help to boost your body’s defense system against infection, disease, and the effects of oxidative stress.
The Journal of Food Science and Technology reported that roasted pumpkin seeds are a good source of antimicrobials and antioxidants. Scientists described pumpkin seeds as “good sources of bioactive compounds with health benefits.” (6)
Other scientific research has found that pumpkin seeds are a good source of phytosterols, tocopherol, and squalene. (7) These compounds help kill free radicals that can lead to chronic disease like cancer and reduce the signs of aging. (8, 9)
What Are Pumpkin Seeds (Pepita) Good For? 9 Health Benefits of Pepitas
What are the health benefits of eating pumpkin seeds? Let’s look in more detail as to why consuming pepitas can give your health a boost.
Pepitas Are Anti-Inflammatory
Pumpkin seeds are good for your health because they help to reduce inflammation in your body.
Short-term inflammation in your body is essential to help fight disease and infections. However, chronic inflammation can lead to serious health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Pumpkin seeds contain fatty acids like omega 3 (ALA- alpha-Linolenic acid). One study found that a mixture of ground pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds helped to lower inflammatory markers in adults with liver disease. The patients took 30 g of the milled pumpkin seed mixture daily for 12 weeks. (10)
Pepitas Have Compounds That Promote Good Heart Health
One of the benefits of eating raw or roasted pumpkin seeds is that they contain antioxidants that are good for your heart.
There are a number of reasons why pumpkin seeds can help protect you from heart disease.
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Research has found that ALA is beneficial to protect against various cardiovascular diseases. Scientists recommend consuming 2 g of ALA a day to help protect your heart. (11)
There are also high levels of magnesium and potassium in pumpkin seeds that can help to regulate blood pressure. The National Institutes of Health report that some studies indicate that increase in magnesium and other micronutrients cause a slight drop in blood pressure. (12)
1-oz. serving of roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds contains 74 mg magnesium which is 19% of your RDI. This amount of pumpkin seeds also has 260 mg potassium (7% RDI) and 15.5 mg calcium (2% RDI). (2)
Some studies have linked the intake of seeds such as pumpkin seeds to lower blood pressure. (13)
Pepitas Are Good to Eat Because They Help Manage Diabetes Symptoms
If you have type 2 diabetes then eating shelled pumpkin seeds or raw pumpkin seeds can help to lower blood glucose levels.
One study found that a pumpkin seeds extract can help to lower blood glucose levels in diabetic rats. Researchers concluded that pumpkin seed extract have anti-diabetic potential, and more studies on humans should be done. (14)
Research has found that pumpkin seeds contain nutrients that are useful in helping to control and maintain blood glucose levels. (15)
Combining flax seeds with pumpkin seeds could also help to prevent complications associated with diabetes. Scientists found that consuming a pumpkin/flax seed mixture can help to prevent diabetic kidney disease. (16)
Pepitas Can Help You Sleep Better
If you have trouble getting to sleep, eating raw or roasted pumpkin seeds in the evening is a good idea. Pumpkin seeds contain the substance tryptophan which is linked with good sleep.
Doctors from WebMD say that tryptophan is an essential amino acid that may help you fall asleep better. (17)
The journal Sports Medicine published a review on supplements that can help with sleep patterns. Tryptophan supplementation can help to improve sleep quality and help a person fall asleep quicker. Tryptophan is also a precursor to melatonin which can help with insomnia. (18)
One clinical study found that tryptophan from plant and protein sources is just as effective as pharmaceutical grade tryptophan to help treat insomnia. (19)
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent food to prevent age-related eye problems because pepitas contain compounds that are good for your vision.
Doctors from WebMD say that minerals such as zinc are necessary to enjoy good vision and protect eye health. Also, lutein and zeaxanthin are necessary to help protect your eyes and can prevent age-related macular degeneration. (20, 21)
The recommended daily intake of zinc for good eye health is 11 mg per day for men and 8 mg per day for women.
Consuming a 1-oz. serving of pumpkin seeds a day can help you get 19% of your recommended daily zinc needs.
Studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. (22)
Pepitas May Prevent Urinary Tract Stones From Forming
Consuming a serving of pumpkin seeds every day can also be good for your urinary tract system.
One study from Thailand found that consuming pumpkin seeds every day can help to prevent mineral deposits in the urinary system. Researchers recommended pumpkin seeds as a nutritious daily snack to prevent bladder stone disease. (26)
Eating shelled pumpkin seeds could help rid your body of tapeworms and other intestinal parasites.
One study from 2012 found that pumpkin seeds rid humans of certain parasites. Consuming a serving of pumpkin seeds every day helped to reduce the number of parasites by 75%. Eating pumpkin seeds together with areca nuts was even more effective and reduced parasite load by 89%. (27)
Is eating pumpkin seeds good for weight loss? There are no studies directly connecting weight loss with pumpkin seed supplementation.
However, the fact that pumpkin seeds are a tasty and healthy snack can prevent you from snacking on unhealthy chips. Also, pumpkin seeds are a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals that can nourish your body and keep you feeling fuller for longer. As always, moderation applies, and it should be combined with healthy lifestyle that promotes weight loss.
Pepitas Have Anticancer Properties
It is good to eat pumpkin seeds every day because they contain high levels of antioxidants that can help to prevent cancer.
One study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that pumpkin seed extracts contain phytoestrogens. They are plant-based hormones that act similar to estrogen in women.
Phytoestrogens may have a protective effect on the spread of breast cancer cells of postmenopausal women. (28) However more research needs to be done to explore the potential for using pumpkin seed to prevent or treat breast cancer.
Other animal studies have shown that pumpkin seed extracts along with ginger extracts can help to offset some of the effects of chemotherapy. (29)
You can also use pumpkin seed oil as a supplement to help get even more of the goodness from pepitas.
Pumpkin Seed Oil May Boost Hair Growth
One of the most researched benefits of pumpkin seeds is connected with using pumpkin seed oil for hair growth.
One randomized, double-blind trial found that pumpkin seed oil helps to treat hair loss in men. 76 men with androgenetic alopecia (the most common cause of hair loss in men) consumed 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil. After a 24-week period, there was a 40% increase in hair count in the men using the pumpkin oil. (30)
You can either consume the pumpkin oil itself or around 1.5 tablespoons of shelled pumpkin seeds which are equivalent to 400 mg pumpkin seed oil.
One study on rats found a potential use for pumpkin seed oil to benefit people with arthritis. The study revealed that pumpkin seed oil was as effective as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in relieving pain in inflamed joints. (31)
Pumpkin Seed Oil Can Prevent Some Complications of the Menopause in Women
Taking pumpkin seed oil is good for women because it can help to improve some of the symptoms of the menopause.
One study found that consuming pumpkin seed oil in the menopause can help to increase HDL cholesterol (or, “good” cholesterol) and lower blood pressure. Women taking pumpkin seed oil supplements also reported fewer joint aches, hot flashes, and headaches. (33)
There is no official RDI for pepitas, however you may want to consume 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds per day because they can be really good for you. Just 1-oz. of pepitas (28 g or around 2 tablespoons) contain 19% of the recommended daily intake of zinc and 19% of the daily recommended intake for magnesium. Most of the nutrition facts mentioned at the beginning of the article are based on a consumption of 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds. (2)
What’s the Best Way to Consume Pumpkin Seeds?
You should prefer raw pumpkin seeds as this is the best way to preserve their healthy nutrients. While both raw and roasted pumpkin seeds offer health benefits, raw pumpkin seeds offer more nutritional value. For example: because fiber, protein and minerals are not destroyed by heat, these nutrients are found in roughly equal amounts in both raw and roasted pumpkin seeds, but heat can destroy other nutrients such as some vitamins.
When purchasing pumpkin seeds you have to make sure they smell fresh. Organic pumpkin seeds are preferred, as they will not be contaminated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
When bread is baked, the heat of the oven can destroy some nutrients in the pumpkin seeds.
However, most nuts and seeds, including pepitas, have anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. These nutritional inhibitors can be minimized or eliminated by soaking the seeds.
If you plan to consume seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak them in water for 7-24 hours to remove the phytic acid. To make them more palatable, you can then dehydrate them in your oven on a low heat setting (no more than 170 degrees F or 75 degrees Celsius) for about 15-20 minutes, or better yet and more cost effectively in a dehydrator. There are many dehydrators on the market and they are readily available on Amazon.
Side Effects of Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
Raw pumpkin seeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, or unshelled pumpkin seeds are a tasty snack that nearly everyone can enjoy.
According to doctors on WebMD, it is very rare for a person to experience side effects when consuming pumpkin seeds in “medicinal amounts.” (36)
You should be careful of eating salted roasted pumpkin seeds as they may increase sodium levels in your body.
Some people do report allergic reactions from eating pumpkin seeds. These side effects of pepitas can include asthma and itching or swelling of the mouth. (37)
Ancash: derrame de minera contamina aguas del río Santa
Un derrame de la minera Pushaquilca, ex Magistral, ha contaminado las aguas del río Santa que son utilizadas para la agricultura del valle y el servicio de agua potable para Nuevo Chimbote.
Según la denuncia del presidente de la Junta de Usuarios del Agua, Ascadio Díaz, el pasado 15 de junio colapsaron las rampas del nivel 4136, lo que provocó el desembalse de las aguas sobre la laguna Pelagatos. Díaz señaló que este derrame se ha producido como consecuencia de las precarias condiciones y la falta de control de la empresa minera.
Imagen: La Industria
Los comuneros constataron la contaminación de las aguas, por lo que llamaron a la Fiscalía, la Policía Nacional y el personal del centro médico. Ellos recorrieron toda la zona y advirtieron que estas aguas desembocan en el río Santa, perjudicando gravemente a los poblados de Paragón y Conzuso de Pampas.
Ascadio Díaz recordó que las aguas de este torrente llegan hasta la costa de Áncash y son utilizadas por los agricultores y, en algunos casos, son de uso doméstico. “Estos relaves constituyen un riesgo potencial para la población. El agua es amarilla, se contamina con facilidad, por lo que hacemos un llamado a las autoridades distritales provinciales y regionales para investigar y encontrar los responsables, a fin de parar la contaminación”, señaló el dirigente.
El alcalde de Pampas, Marcial Valerio, manifestó que se vino alertando de este posible derrame desde agosto del año pasado al Ministerio de Energía y Minas, para que proceda con el cierre. Lamentablemente, el ministerio no realizó la inspección y ha dejado que la empresa siga operando.
La ex ministra aprista Mercedes Cabanillas debe declarar mañana por el caso del "Baguazo"
La ex ministra del interior del gobierno aprista, Mercedes Cabanilla declarara mañana por la muerte del 10 policías por el caso del Baguazo ante el Poder Judicial de Bagua en Amazonas
El Poder Judicial de Bagia citó a la ex ministro aprista, Mercedes Cabanillas por el caso del Baguazo.
20 de Junio de 2019 19:30 pm.
El Poder Judicial citó a la ex ministra del interior durante el gobierno de Alan García Pérez, Mercedes Cabanillas para que declare sobre la investigación que se le sigue a 25 miembros de las comunidades indígenas, entre ellas al líder Alberto Pizango Chota, acusados de secuestrar y asesinar a 10 efectivos policiales la tarde del 5 de junio del año 2009 en Bagua, Amazonas.
La Sala Penal Liquidadora de Bagua de la Corte de Amazonas, citó a la señora Mercedes Cabanillas, el ex ministro Remigio Hernani y David García Cebreros y ex miembro de la Policía Nacional del Perú, que comandó el operativo en los alrededores de la Estación 6 de Petro-Perú en la ciudad de Bagua.
Estos ex ministros del gobierno aprista deben acudir mañana viernes 21 de junio a las 11.30 a.m en la sede del Edificio Carlos Zavala del Poder Judicial (costado del palacio de justicia) para declarar como testigos por el caso del Baguazo.
#Atención. Sala Penal Liquidadora de Bagua de la Corte de Amazonas toma hoy declaraciones como testigo, vía videoconferencia, a exministra aprista #MercedesCabanillas, por caso denominado 'El Baguazo'. Hora 14:30. Edificio Carlos Zavala.
Su declaraciones, han sido solicitadas por la Fiscalía Superior Mixta de Bagua a fin de determinar las acciones desplegadas por los manifestantes del denominado Paro Amazónico y sus posibles responsabilidades en los hechos de muerte, informó el abogado Juan José Quispe.
Las testigos, declararan ante la Sala Penal Liquidadora de Bagua de la Corte de Amazonaspor vía videoconferencia desde una sala del Edificio Carlos Zavala, que es donde normalmente se llevan a cabo todas las sesiones de audiencias en este juicio.
Por el caso del Baguazo son investigados, Carlos Alberto Pizango y otros por el delito de en agravio de 10 efectivos policiales que custodiaba la Estación Nro 6 del Oleoducto Peruano Nor Oriental de Petro Perú (Imazita), que fueron secuestrados por nativos amazónicos y degollados en Bagua, región Amazonas.
Según testigos, los efectivos habían sido reducidos cientos de protestantes, que poseían machetes y lanzas. Posteriormente, fueron amordazados, y se les decomisó sus armas de fuego.
Un policía que logró escapar de los indígenas que secuestraron y mataron a varios de sus compañeros en la Estación 6 de Petroperú, de la localidad de Imazita, relató como los efectivos fueron torturados por los nativos que exigían la derogatoria de 10 decretos legislativos que, según ellos, afectan sus intereses.