Pumpkin Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits: Seeds and Flesh

October 26, 2023 5 mins to read
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When Halloween rolls around, we see Ghosts and Ghouls and Jack-o-Lanterns…but Pumpkins aren’t just a spooky festive decoration; they are a nutrient dense superfood with a range of health benefits. In this article I go over the nutrient content of pumpkins including seeds and flesh, so you can see just how healthy they truly are. So try to use each and every part of these pumpkin superfoods, rather then throwing it out and contributing to food waste.

Pumpkin Flesh (the insides)

Pumpkin Flesh | Macronutrients:

  • Calories: Low in calories; an average of about 30 calories per cup.
  • Carbohydrates: About 8 grams per cup.
  • Protein: Approximately 1 gram per cup.
  • Fiber: Around 3 grams per cup.
  • Fats: Less than 1 gram per cup.

Pumpkin Flesh | Micronutrients:

  • Vitamin A: Pumpkins are particularly high in Vitamin A, with one cup providing over 190% of the recommended daily intake.
  • Vitamin C: Supports immune function. Provides around 15% of the daily recommended intake per cup.
  • Potassium: Important for heart and muscle function.
  • Iron: Helps in the formation of red blood cells.
  • Magnesium: Supports muscle and nerve function.
  • Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps protect your cells.
  • B Vitamins: Such as riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6.

Pumpkin Flesh | Phytonutrients:

  • Beta-carotene: This is what gives pumpkins their vibrant orange color. It’s an antioxidant that the body can convert into Vitamin A.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: These are antioxidants linked to eye health and which can reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases.

Pumpkin Flesh | Health Benefits:

  • Weight Loss: Due to its fiber content, it can help you to feel fuller and support weight loss.
  • Eye Health: Thanks to the beta-carotene.
  • Heart Health: The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content all support optimal heart health.

Pumpkin Seeds (often called pepitas)

Pumpkin Seeds | Macronutrients:

  • Calories: About 151 calories in an ounce.
  • Protein: Approximately 7 grams per ounce.
  • Fats: About 13 grams per ounce, but they are primarily healthy fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Carbohydrates: Around 5 grams per ounce.
  • Fiber: About 1.7 grams per ounce.

Pumpkin Seeds | Micronutrients:

  • Magnesium: Essential for a range of bodily functions, including regulating blood pressure and heart health.
  • Zinc: Important for immunity, skin health, and vision.
  • Iron: Vital for red blood cell production.
  • Calcium: Essential for bone health and muscle function.
  • Potassium: Important for muscle and heart health.
  • Phosphorus: Supports bone health.
  • Folate: Important for cell function and tissue growth.

Pumpkin Seeds | Phytonutrients:

  • Antioxidants: Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, which help protect against free radicals/oxidative damage and inflammation.

Pumpkin Seeds | Health Benefits:

  • Heart and Liver Health: Thanks to the healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber.
  • Mental Health: The amino acid tryptophan in pumpkin seeds might help with the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood – boosting your boot and supporting mental health.
  • Bone Health: Due to their high magnesium content.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: The antioxidants in the seeds have anti-inflammatory effects.

References

  1. Antioxidant Activity: A study highlighting the antioxidant activity of pumpkin and its role in conditions like diabetes can be found in “Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review” from Nutrition Research Reviews.
  2. Anti-carcinogenic Effects: Research associating diets high in pumpkin seeds with lower risks of various cancers is detailed in the same review, “Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review“.
  3. Brain Health: The impact of pumpkin carotenoids on brain health, particularly in relation to neurodegenerative diseases, is discussed in “Incredible Health Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds” on Food Revolution Network.
  4. Overactive Bladder Disorders: Findings on pumpkin seed oil’s effectiveness in treating overactive bladder disorders are also covered in the Food Revolution Network article, “Incredible Health Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds“.
  5. Eye Health: The role of pumpkin in eye health, especially due to its beta-carotene and carotenoids content, is discussed in the same Food Revolution Network article, “Incredible Health Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds“.
  6. Antimicrobial, Antibacterial, and Antiparasitic Effects: The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of pumpkin are detailed in the Food Revolution Network article, “Incredible Health Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds“.
  7. Cancer: The potential of pumpkin seeds in reducing the risk of cancer is explored in “Incredible Health Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds“.
  8. Diabetes: The benefits of pumpkins and pumpkin seeds for people with diabetes are also covered in the Food Revolution Network article, “Incredible Health Benefits of Pumpkins & Pumpkin Seeds“.

Conclusion

Hopefully after reading this article you now see pumpkins as a nutritional powerhouse, not just a spooky Halloween decoration. Sure, enjoy the spooky lanterns, but use up all of those healthy pumpkin guts and seeds. Check our my other article Beyond the Jack-o’-Lantern: 5 Genius Ways to Use Every Pumpkin! 🎃 for some great ways to use all of your pumpkins or look up your own recipes…the internet is full of delicious pumpkin treats! Whether you’re enjoying the flesh in a pie or roasting the seeds for a snack, you’re giving your body a health-boosting treat!

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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