Pumpkin seeds: uses and nutritional benefits

The Cucurbitaceae family is a large group of edible plants. Each squash has its particularity, its flavor, its aspect and its nutritional qualities very specific. The genus Cucurbita is divided into three species, including the species Cucurbita pepo. Indeed, it is of this variety that we consume the seeds of pumpkin. They are flat, oval and of various colors. We find mostly black squash seeds from the Lady Godiva squash. These seeds have an energy density of lipidic origin: they are classified in the family of oleaginous. Squash seeds are extremely rich in manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Studies show the presence of lignans which confer them an anti-osteoporotic and cardiovascular protective capacity. In addition, many studies have looked at the activity of pumpkin seeds and the urogenital system. In fact, thanks to their nutritional richness, pumpkin seeds have benefits for the whole body. This superfood with a nutty taste is accessible to everyone. In short, a handful of pumpkin seeds a day keeps the doctor away. Latin name: Cucurbita pepo L. Botanical family: Cucurbitaceae. Part used: Seed.

Recommended consumption

Because of the energy density of pumpkin seeds and their high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, daily consumption recommendations are defined. In cure, a portion of pumpkin seeds, that is 15 g per day, the equivalent of three to four teaspoons.

In what form?

To make the most of their benefits, you can use them :

  • Whole
  • Roasted, toasted
  • In pieces
At what time of day?

We advise you to use them during the following meal(s) to take full advantage of their benefits:

  • Lunch
  • Dinner
What modes of use?

You can incorporate them into the following preparations to make them easier to take:

  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Aperitif
  • Dish
  • Only
  • Mixed with other dried fruits
  • Muesli
Precautions for use
  • Because of their estrogenic activities, we recommend to the pregnant women, nursing women, children of less than 6 years and to the persons reached of a hormonodependent pathology to ask for a medical opinion before consumption of seeds of Pumpkin.
  • Allergens: traces of peanuts, nuts, sesame and soy.

Health Nutrition Benefits

15g of pumpkin seeds contain a significant portion of the Population Nutrient Reference (PNR) for the following nutrients: Fiber, Vitamin E, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc and Phosphorus. They also contain, to a lesser extent, Protein, Selenium, Potassium and Iron.

As such, squash seeds can complement your healthy and varied diet.

Urogenital system

In women, the drop in estrogen and progesterone causes ovulation to stop. This period is commonly called menopause. These hormonal variations favor the appearance of disorders: decrease in bone density, thinning of the skin and hair, less firm breasts, lipidic disorders, etc. The seeds of Squash are vectors of lignan (a phyto-estrogen), they thus have an estrogenic activity. The latter limits the progression of physiological and physical changes caused by menopause.

A study also goes back up a reduction of the symptoms felt in the men suffering from a hyperplasia of the prostate, after three months of use of seeds of Pumpkin. This same study shows that pumpkin seeds also modulate the functioning of the urinary system.


The pumpkin seeds decrease the absorption of carbohydrates and cholesterol. They are hypocholesterolemic and reduce the glycemic load of meals. These two powers make pumpkin seeds a food to be preferred in case of cholesterol or glycemia disorders. In addition, pumpkin seeds have a high level of antioxidants: copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin E, zinc...

Immune system

Four minerals and trace elements are officially recognized to participate in the good functioning of the immune system: zinc, iron, copper and selenium. All are present in great proportion in pumpkin seeds. Also, studies show that pumpkin seeds fight against the digestive parasitosis. Thus, within a balanced diet, they will participate in the functioning of immunity.

Bone system

The reconstruction of a damaged bone requires optimal nutritional intake. The objective is to bet on minerals and proteins. The pumpkin seeds take part in these contributions: proteins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.

Sexuality and reproduction

The male reproductive system requires two trace elements to function properly: zinc and selenium. Squash seeds contribute to these needs. However, a study shows that the seeds of fluted squash, a variety of Nigerian squash, reduce the viability of spermatozoa, thus decreasing fertility.

Body, face and hair care

With age, the hair becomes finer and greyer, the skin more fragile and less elastic and the nails are more breakable. The pumpkin seeds bring the necessary micronutrients to prevent and decrease the marks of time. The contribution of copper takes part in the synthesis of the melanin: a dark pigment which protects the skin and brings a dark color to the hair. Selenium and zinc strengthen keratin, a protein that forms hair and nails. Iron, magnesium and zinc contribute to the cell division process. Together, they promote skin regeneration. Finally, copper and selenium contribute to the formation of connective tissue, the body's support tissue. Without forgetting the antioxidant power of pumpkin seeds which prevents the appearance of age spots.

Muscles and joints

Associated with rest, pumpkin seeds are ideal for post-workout recovery periods. They are rich in proteins, magnesium and zinc. These minerals take part in the protein synthesis supporting the muscular anabolism. In addition, they meet the need for potassium. Potassium modulates the strength of muscle contraction (see our guide muscle cramps and diet).

Circulatory system

Developing an iron deficiency is common. This deficiency disrupts the synthesis of red blood cells, resulting, in the long run, in anemia (see our guide iron deficiency anemia and diet). Pumpkin seeds contribute to the daily iron requirement. They also provide copper, which contributes to iron transport.

Digestive system

By their insoluble fibers, pumpkin seeds are mild laxatives. They will accelerate the intestinal transit by promoting the production of gas and weighing down the total mass of stools (see our guide constipation and diet).

Nervous system, well-being

A feeling of fatigue, both psychic and physical? Pumpkin seeds can be useful. Thanks to their lipidic energy and their micronutrients (copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc), they contribute to the energy metabolism. Iron and magnesium are especially important because a lack of them leads to intense fatigue. Iron and zinc will also stimulate the cognitive functions. Pumpkin seeds can also help relaxation by providing magnesium.

Oral system

The dental enamel is a richly mineralized tissue which protects the lower layers of the teeth. The pumpkin seeds contribute to the mineralization of the enamel by the contribution of phosphorus and magnesium, preventing the appearance of the caries and oral disorders.

Ocular system

Zinc is the only trace element necessary to maintain normal vision. It participates in the functioning of the photoreceptor cells and increases the absorption of vitamin A: the most important vitamin for the vision. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc.

Nutritional properties

Main properties

  • Antihelmintic (ethanolic compound, alkaloid): squash seeds show antiparasitic activity. Studies trace that Squash seeds inhibit egg hatching, larval stage and motility of intestinal tract worms, going into total decline after 15 days. This vermifuge power also comes from the alkaloids found in the extract of seeds of Pumpkin: berberine and palmatine. The alkaloids have an antimicrobial activity. Moreover, the seeds of Squash were used for this reason in Eritrea to treat the tapeworm.
  • Urinary balancer: several studies show promising activities on urinary incontinence, frequency of micturition and nocturia (involuntary nighttime urination) during a diet enriched with pumpkin seed.
  • Anti-inflammatory prostate: a clinical trial with more than 2,000 patients with benign prostate hyperplasia received an ethanoic extract of pumpkin seeds for three months. This treatment shows an improvement in symptoms related to hyperplasia. However, the volume of the prostate was not affected.
  • Remineralizing (magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, lignan): pumpkin seeds are superfoods particularly rich in minerals. Moreover, the lignans confer to the seeds of Squash an estrogenic activity. This activity allows the maintenance of a good bone density: a study observes a reduction of osteoclasts (demineralizing cells) in favour of osteoblasts (remineralizing cells).
  • Blood sugar control (fiber, fat, protein): fat, fiber, protein and low sugar are the ideal combo for achieving a low glycemic index. The low glycemic index tends to harmonize postprandial blood sugar.
  • Cardiovascular protector (fiber, lignan): the fibers of pumpkin seeds are known to decrease the absorption of lipids. Squash seeds therefore have a hypocholesterolemic and hypotriglyceridemic power. The lignans found in pumpkin seeds also provide cardiovascular benefits. The lignans also support the maintenance of a good lipidic profile. The whole allows the pumpkin seeds to reduce the prevalence or the aggravation of the cardiovascular disorders.
  • Appetite regulator (fiber, fat, protein): pumpkin seeds have a low glycemic index. On their own, they hardly affect blood sugar levels. Accompanied, they reduce the total glycemic load of the meal. This low glycemic index regulates the insulin level, and thus the blood sugar level. A balanced blood sugar level promotes the feeling of satiety between meals and fights against snacking.
  • Contributing to energy metabolism (lipid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc): pumpkin seeds have a fairly high energy density, explained by their nutritional composition with a lipid majority. Lipids are the macronutrients with the highest energy density among macronutrients. From lipids, the body must go through several metabolic reactions to successfully obtain energy. These metabolic reactions require the intake of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc: minerals that help the enzymes of energy metabolism to function.

Secondary properties

  • Anti-anemic (iron, copper): pumpkin seeds contribute to the daily needs of iron and copper. Iron is involved in the synthesis and functioning of red blood cells. In addition, copper improves the bioavailability of iron for the body by being involved in its transport.
  • Muscle tonic (protein, magnesium, zinc): pumpkin seeds are rich in vegetable proteins, magnesium and zinc. Namely, magnesium and zinc are involved in protein synthesis, and proteins represent 20% of the total mass of a muscle. Thus, pumpkin seeds promote muscle building.
  • Fortifying (selenium, zinc): selenium and zinc are known to fortify nails. These two trace elements are found in pumpkin seeds.
  • Skin regenerator (iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus): by their constitution, pumpkin seeds protect, regenerate and nourish the skin. The first benefit comes from copper, the latter participates in the synthesis of melanin. This pigment protects the skin from ultraviolet rays. Then, pumpkin seeds support the regeneration of the skin thanks to iron, magnesium, and zinc. They play a role in genetic replication, which promotes the renewal of damaged cells. Phosphorus enters him in the composition of the cellular membranes. Finally, its nourishing power comes simply from its contribution in good lipids.
  • Immunomodulating (copper, iron, selenium, zinc): pumpkin seeds promote the proper functioning of the immune system, through the presence of immunomodulating trace elements: zinc, selenium and copper. Moreover, they are rich in iron, they thus prevent a deficiency in iron favorable to the infections.
  • Anti-fatigue (magnesium, iron): thanks to their richness in magnesium and iron, pumpkin seeds help reduce fatigue.
  • Acid-Base Balancer (Zinc): pumpkin seeds are a zinc-rich superfood. Officially, zinc is the only nutrient with blood alkalizing power.
  • Mental tonic (iron, zinc): nutritional deficiencies can lead to a decline in cognitive performance. This is the case of iron and zinc. Pumpkin seeds will prevent the appearance of these disorders by their richness in copper and iron.
  • Contributing to fertility (zinc, selenium): squash seeds consist of zinc and selenium. Selenium participates in the synthesis of spermatozoa. Zinc promotes the synthesis of testosterone and enters the final composition of seminal fluid.
  • Relaxing (magnesium): pumpkin seeds are very rich in magnesium: 60 g of pumpkin seeds completely meet our daily magnesium needs. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant.
  • Anti-fertility: this property only applies to a specific variety of Squash seeds: fluted Squash seeds. A 2019 study on rats demonstrates an anti-fertility effect after introduction of a diet enriched with Fluted Squash seeds for 60 days. This study shows a decrease in serum and intratesticular concentrations of testosterone and FSH (hormone involved in sperm formation). This decrease increases testicular oxidative stress: motility, number, morphology and viability of spermatozoa. Nevertheless, 60 days post-treatment, these values had returned to normal.
  • Contributing to normal vision (zinc): photoreceptor cells require optimal intakes of zinc and vitamin A. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. In addition, by this richness, they increase the absorption of vitamin A.
  • Hair tonic (copper, selenium, zinc): pumpkin seeds strengthen hair with selenium and zinc. In addition, their richness in copper prevents the appearance of white hair.

Nutritional values

*Recommended Daily Allowance

Learn more about the plant : Squash

Squash includes several species of plants all belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. This very diverse family comes in three main species: Cucurbita maxima (known fruit: pumpkin), Cucurbita moschata (known fruit: butternut squash or butternut) and Cucurbita pepo. The latter species has the greatest diversity: pumpkin, zucchini, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, etc. The Lady Godiva squash, being part of this species, is known for its seeds: squash seeds. The division of these three species comes from three characteristics: the shape of the leaves and peduncles.

The species C. pepo seems to be the oldest since traces have been found in Mexico in 8000 BC. Squashes have a common history: they arrived in the West with Christopher Columbus. For once, this novelty is quickly accepted (unlike tomatoes which were not unanimously accepted at that time). Squash are cultivated for their fruit and their flower that we eat. Fun fact: the largest pumpkin in Europe weighs 1.2 tons. A beautiful baby of 2021 that promises pumpkin soups for many years.

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