Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Pumpkin seeds, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Pumpkin seeds are a satisfying, calorie-dense snack with several vitamins and minerals to offer. If you're trying to lose weight, you might be concerned about the calories in pumpkin seeds. With proper portion control, however, pumpkin seeds can curb cravings for empty-calorie snacks and give your body the nutrition it needs for optimal functioning.

Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Facts

The USDA provides the following nutrition information for 1 ounce (28g or 85 seeds) of whole roasted pumpkin seeds prepared without salt.

  • Calories: 126
  • Fat: 5.5g
  • Sodium: 5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 15.2g
  • Fiber: 5.2g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 5.3g

Carbs

A single serving of pumpkin seeds provides 15.2 grams of carbohydrate, but only about 10 grams of net carbs since the serving also provides 5.2 grams of fiber. 

Fats

A single serving of pumpkin seeds provides a little more than 5 grams of total fat. Most of the fat content in packaged products comes from fats added during the roasting process.

If you roast the seeds in one tablespoon of butter, add 102 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 2 milligrams of sodium.

If you roast the seeds in one tablespoon of olive oil, add 119 calories, 14 grams of fat, 1.9 grams of saturated fat (but 10 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1.4 grams of polyunsaturated fat).

Protein

Roasted pumpkin seeds provide 5.3 grams of protein per ounce.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of essential minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.

It's important to note that there are 2,325 milligrams of sodium in 1 teaspoon of table salt. Choose unsalted pumpkin seeds or use salt sparingly to avoid turning pumpkin seeds into a high-sodium snack.

Health Benefits

Pumpkin seeds provide a boost of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and the nutrients in pumpkin seeds are helpful for managing a variety of health conditions.

Supports Cell Growth and Repair

Protein is an essential nutrient required for our body to build tissues. Adult men need about 6-ounce equivalents, and adult women require 5-ounce equivalents. Having an ounce or two of pumpkin seeds for a snack can help you reach this recommendation to supply your body with an adequate foundation of amino acid building blocks.

Promotes Good Sleep

Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that's associated with improvements in sleep. Choosing pumpkin seeds as an evening snack can help you get a restful night's sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Relieves Prostate Symptoms

Enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP), is a common problem for older men. Resulting symptoms on the urinary tract can hinder the quality of life, including the frequent urge to urinate. Pumpkin seeds have long been used as a natural remedy for BPH symptoms. Recent studies confirm the effectiveness of pumpkin seed extract in improving the lives of those living with BPH.

Enhances Immune Function

Consuming 1 ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds provides 15% of your daily requirements for zinc. Zinc is a crucial mineral that's not stored in the body, so regular intake is necessary. Zinc deficiencies lead to an impairment in key immune processes, including natural killer T cell function. Adequate zinc is also vital for proper wound healing after an injury or infection.

Reduces Triglycerides

Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that are associated with heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to help reduce high triglycerides, hence reducing unhealthy cardiovascular markers. A study providing a milled seed mixture of pumpkin, flax, and sesame seeds has demonstrated a 30% reduction in serum triglycerides after 12-weeks of supplementation. The combination of beneficial fats and fiber in seeds produce cumulative positive effects.

Allergies

It is possible to have an allergic reaction to pumpkin seeds, although reports of this allergy are very rare. Allergies can develop at any time. Pumpkin meat or seed allergy symptoms may include chest tightness, hives, and vomiting. If you suspect an allergy to pumpkin, seek care from a healthcare professional.

Adverse Effects

If you're not accustomed to eating a lot of fiber, it can take some time for your digestive system to adjust to eating pumpkin seeds. Increase your intake gradually to avoid uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloat, or constipation.

Varieties

Not all pumpkin seeds provide the same benefits. If you buy processed or packaged pumpkin seeds, you're likely to get an extra dose of sodium and preservatives.

For example, popular brands of pumpkin seed packets found in the snack or candy aisle may add a whopping 815 milligrams of sodium per 1-ounce serving. Roasting your own pumpkin seeds or eating them raw provides maximal nutrition.

Storage and Food Safety

When harvesting fresh pumpkin seeds, it's important to remove the seeds immediately after cutting into the pumpkin. Pumpkins are a low acid vegetable that is prone to bacteria growth when left to sit out at room temperature.

Keep raw pumpkin seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their shelf-life. Fresh seeds are high in oils that can go rancid quickly. Seal roasted pumpkin seeds in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.

How to Prepare

A small handful of pumpkin seeds makes a great snack at any time. However, pumpkin seeds are easy to overeat. Be mindful of portion sizes by measuring a few tablespoons and putting them into a serving bowl.

Top your soups and salads with raw or roasted pumpkin seeds. You can also sprinkle them into a turkey wrap with hummus for a savory crunch.

Roasting pumpkin seeds is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. After you remove the seeds from a pumpkin, rinse them thoroughly in a colander and remove any stringy, wet pulp that is attached to them.
  2. Dry the pumpkin seeds with a paper towel.
  3. Add a small amount of olive oil and seasonings. Use a dash of salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, pumpkin spice seasoning, or whatever you like.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and roast pumpkin seeds flat in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook until golden brown, for about 45 minutes.
  5. Allow seeds to cool and enjoy.

Recipes

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Article Sources
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