Pumpkin Seed Nutritional Benefits and Recipes

Dr. Tieraona Low Dog

It’s fall, and that means pumpkin everything! I’ve harvested the last of the sugar pumpkins from our garden and have been busy cooking the flesh and roasting the seeds. And speaking about pumpkin seeds; here are a few interesting facts about their health benefits:

— Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.





Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds



Heart Health  

Pumpkin seeds can help reduce inflammation and improve overall heart health.


Postmenopausal Health  

Pumpkin seed oil contains phytoestrogens, which when consumed on a consistent basis can reduce symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, joint pain, and even cardiovascular issues like mildly elevated blood pressure.  


Skin Health

Essential fatty acids, like those found in pumpkin seeds, are necessary for tissue synthesis and can reduce dryness of the skin, helping to control wrinkling and oxidation damage to the skin. Pumpkin seeds are one ingredient in the recipe for ageless beauty!


Eye Health

Zinc plays a role in healthy eye function and can help protect against eye related problems as you age. In addition, zinc is vital to normal metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins and fetal development. This is just another reason to throw some pumpkin seeds on your salad or grab a handful for a quick snack.


Brain Health

Tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin synthesis, cannot be produced in the body, so it must be consumed in the diet. Increased intake of tryptophan rich foods, like pumpkin seeds, may have a beneficial effect on mood and anxiety.


Prostate Health

The chemical makeup of pumpkin seeds plays a role in the conversion of testosterone in the body. Because of this link, consumption of pumpkin seeds has been identified as a potential preventive food for enlarged prostate. 


Metabolic Health

Macromolecules contained in pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have mild hypoglycemic properties, improving the health of those with diabetes when regularly included in their diet.






Pumpkin Seed Recipes



Healthy foods are always easier to introduce into your diet when they are also super tasty. Here are a couple of our favorite pumpkin seed recipes to get you started:


 Pumpkin Seed Flour


Wash and dry the pumpkin seeds.

Place outside in a clean area in the sun for 1 day to dry them out just a bit.

Place in a food processor and blend to break up the seeds.

Transfer to a coffee grinder in small batches and grind into a fine powder. Overgrinding can result in a gumminess due to the high fat content, so stop the grinding right when the seeds reach a flour- like consistency.


You can substitute some of the pumpkin seed flour in most baking recipes to add a kick of nutritional value! 


Grain Free Granola


3 cups of nuts: mix and match walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds

1 cup of seeds: mix and match pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds

1 cup dried fruit: mix and match raisins, cranberries, chopped dates, figs

½ cup coconut flakes

¼ tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp maple syrup or honey

½ tsp vanilla extract


Heat oven to 320 degrees


Place nuts in a food processor and pulse to a chunky consistency. You should still have some whole pieces and some broken pieces.


Place seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit, sea salt and cinnamon into a bowl and stir to combine.


Add nuts and stir to combine.


Whisk together oil, maple syrup and vanilla and pour over and stir into nut and seed mixture.


Spread mixture evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Let cool completely and break into chunks before storing. Enjoy with yogurt, flax milk, or by the handful as a snack. Store in the fridge to keep fresh longer.