There is more to pumpkins than pumpkin-pie and decoration for Halloween. Pumpkins are known to have many health benefits, but did you know that the seeds are actually packed full of vitamins, anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as oleic and linoleic acids? Here are ten beauty and health benefits of pumpkin seed oil.
- Relieves Symptoms of Menopause
Pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrogens that are beneficial for women going through peri-menopause and for menopausal women. In one study, pumpkin seed oil helped to decrease joint pain, hot flashes and headaches in menopausal women. It was also found to increase HDL cholesterol levels in women. Therefore, any woman who is having unpleasant menopausal symptoms should try pumpkin seed oil.
- Improves Prostate Health
Because of its high zinc content, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are both effective for relieving symptoms of enlarged prostate in men. In one Korean study, men with enlarged prostate witnessed relief of symptoms, including improved urine flow. (Hong, Kim, and Maeng, 2009). Men with enlarged prostates should therefore regularly take pumpkin seed oil to relieve their symptoms.
- Improves Health of the Urinary Tract
Pumpkin seed oil has a positive effect on the urinary system (bladder, kidneys, urethra and ureter). In one study, participants suffering from overactive bladder were given 10mg of pumpkin seed oil per day for 12 weeks. Evaluation showed that their symptoms had improved quite a lot. (Nishimura and others, 2014). Overactive bladder is common in older people therefore older people would do well to take pumpkin seed oil as a regular supplement.
- Reduces Inflammation
Pumpkin seed oil is anti-inflammatory, and therefore it can combat or prevent many chronic illnesses. Research has found pumpkin seed oil to be more effective than the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Indomethacin in reducing symptoms of arthritis. Even better, it did not have any harmful side-effects like the drug. Therefore, anybody who suffers from inflammation would do well to include pumpkin seed oil in their diet. Better still, more people should take pumpkin seeds regularly to prevent inflammation.
- Prevents Hair Loss and Thickens the Hair
Pumpkin seed oil prevents hair loss in men because of high levels of zinc and other phytochemicals which balance male hormones and encourage hair growth. Hair loss in men is connected to an increase in an androgen hormone known as diHydroxy Testosterone. In one study, there was an average increase in hair by 40% in men who took pumpkin seed oil daily for 24 weeks. (Cho and others, 2014). Any man whose hair loss is linked to hormone imbalance should give pumpkin seed oil a try.
Women too can use pumpkin seed oil to improve hair health and growth. The oil is loaded with fatty acids, minerals and vitamins A, K, and E which all contribute to strong hair. The nutrients also protect the hair and hydrate hair follicles, leaving hair shiny and lustrous.
- Heals the Skin
Pumpkin seed oil can be applied to the skin for healing purposes. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, pumpkin seed oil will sooth and calm down redness in the skin. The powerful anti-oxidants and fatty acids improve skin tone and relieve symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, acne and dry flaky skin. The oil also normalizes oil production in the epidermis and speeds up the repair of irritated skin.
- Promotes Healthy Youthful Skin
When applied topically for beauty purposes, pumpkin seed oil hydrates and firms up the skin. It also encourages cell turnover and it maintains collagen levels, leaving the skin looking younger. It is therefore recommended for anybody who wants to combat the effects of early aging of the skin.
- Treats Diabetes
Pumpkin seed oil should be a part of any diabetic person’s diet. Animal studies have found that certain phytochemicals in pumpkin seed oil promote regeneration of damaged pancreas cells in diabetic rats. One particular study gave pumpkin seed oil to rats with type 2 diabetes and they managed to improve both glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. (Yoshinari and others, 2009).
- Relieves Digestive Problems
Pumpkin seed oil is effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many people have actually experienced relief of symptoms due to this oil. It is suspected that this is due to its anti-inflammatory properties though no one is sure yet how it works. Other people use pumpkin seed oil to expel parasites from the intestines. Apparently, it paralyzes the parasites and use of a natural laxative, like castor oil, soon after taking pumpkin seed oil, helps to expel the parasites.
- Improves Heart Health
Pumpkin seed oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, its ability to increase good cholesterol in the blood, its antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber all support heart health. Studies have also found pumpkin seed oil to combat hypertension and to prevent heart disease. (El-Mosallamy and others, 2012).
Why not make pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds a regular part of your diet to stay heart-healthy? These are just some of the many health benefits of pumpkin seeds. Never throw away your pumpkin seeds whenever you carve pumpkins for Halloween or whenever you cook pumpkins. Wash the seeds and dry them and then eat them raw as a snack. You can buy pumpkin seed oil from your health food store in liquid or pill form.
Cho and others. (2014, April 23). Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.
El-Mosallamy AE and others. (2012, February). Journal of Medicinal Food. Antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects of pumpkin seed oil.
Hong, H., Kim, C., and Maeng S. (2009, Winter). Nutrition Research and Practice. Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Nishimura M. and others. (2014 Jan-Mar). Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted from Cucurbita maxima Improves Urinary Disorder in Human Overactive Bladder.
Yoshinari and others. (2009, May 7). Bioscience, Biotechnology, Biochemistry. Anti-diabetic effects of Pumpkin and its Components, Trigonelline and Nicotinic Acid, on Goto-Kakizaki Rats.