Can you eat pumpkin seeds whole?

In this paper, I will answer the question “Can you eat pumpkin seeds whole?” and I will explain the possible benefits and downsides.

Can you eat pumpkin seeds whole?

Yes, you can eat whole pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seed shells are edible and contain more fiber than green, shelled pumpkin seeds. Whole, roasted pumpkin seeds with their shells include 5.2 grams of fiber per serving (1 ounce oder 25.35 g), whereas shelled seeds have only 1.8 grams, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

It should be emphasized, however, that persons with digestive issues should avoid whole seeds because their high fiber content can cause symptoms like discomfort and diarrhea. Pumpkin seeds also contain phyto-compounds but which at certain critical levels have significant anti-nutritional effects. These compounds include oxalate, phytate, nitrate and cyanide (1).

Is it safe to eat pumpkin seed shells?

Pumpkin seeds are little green seeds with a yellowish-white shell around them.

Those offered in supermarkets, on the other hand, are usually shelled. That’s why store-bought products vary in color, size, and form from those made at home.

Even yet, most people can safely eat pumpkin seed shells. In fact, they enhance the crunch of the seeds while also providing additional nutrients. The shells add to the overall fiber level, which aids in the prevention of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

What are the benefits of pumpkin seeds?

The small oval-shaped pumpkin seeds, often known as pepitas, are a nutritious powerhouse. The seeds are high in magnesium, iron, and fiber, making them a healthful and crispy snack. As part of a balanced diet, the American Heart Association suggests eating a quarter cup (30 grams) of pumpkin seeds per day.

Here are some of the health benefits of pumpkin seeds:

  • It is good for your heart:

Pumpkin seeds are high in healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, all of which are beneficial to your cardiovascular health. Monounsaturated fatty acids included in the small seeds aid to decrease bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol. The magnesium in the seeds helps to keep blood pressure in check. The cholesterol lowering effect of pumpkin seeds could be due to high concentrations of phytosterols (plant compounds that inhibit cholesterol absorption). The consumption of pumpkin seeds also induces the lowering of blood pressure (1).

  • It aids in better sleep:

. Seeds are also high in Tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that enhances mood and promotes well-being in the brain. Tryptophan also promotes sleep and thus reduces anxiety and improves sleep quality (1). Before going to bed, a handful of seeds can be a simple and natural approach to achieve a good night’s sleep. 

  • It has anti-inflammatory properties: 

Anti-inflammatory qualities of pumpkin seeds aid in the relief of arthritic pain. The γ-tocopherol present in pumpkin seed possesses anti-inflammatory properties  and can be used as a simple home treatment for joint pain. Several studies have shown that pumpkin seeds have greater remedy and anti-inflammatory action than chemical drugs (1).

  • It’s an immune system booster:

The seeds are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which assist to strengthen immunity. Pumpkin seeds also have good amounts of zinc, which boosts the immune system and aids in bone density support for the people at risk of osteoporosis. a- and b- moschino and myeloid are antimicrobial peptides present in pumpkin seeds which are also responsible for enhancing an immune system (1).

  • It prevents prostate cancer:

Zinc is effective in improving men’s fertility and reducing prostate-related disorders, according to research. DHEA (Di-hydro epi-androstenedione) found in pumpkin seeds helps to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer. Carotenoids as well as vitamin E present in pumpkin seeds prevents oxidative damage to cell by preventing the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes and can benefit the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia (1).

  • It is beneficial to diabetics:

Pumpkin seeds reduce oxidative stress, which helps to manage blood sugar levels. The seeds also contain digestible protein, which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. In addition, it has been determined in studies that oil of pumpkin seeds food regimen decreases the elevated level of the enzymes alanine aminotransferase  in plasma and aspartate aminotransferase that reverse the risks of diabetes occurrence. Hypoglycemic effects are also related to protein isolated from different types of pumpkin seeds (2).

Shelled vs. whole pumpkin seeds nutrition Benefits:

Whole pumpkin seeds offer more fiber than shelled pumpkin seeds.

Whole pumpkin seeds provide roughly 5 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams), however shelled seeds include only 2 grams.

Fiber aids digestion by providing food for the good bacteria in your stomach. It may even lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, reducing your risk of heart disease.

Fiber promotes healthy bowel function, due to microflora activity, water holding capacity, increasing fecal bulk, and reducing fecal transit time, thereby preventing constipation. Fiber is fermented by microflora that reside in the large intestine, which produce butyrate and this may underlie the reduction in colon cancer risk. Prebiotics, including food ingredients that promote beneficial changes to gut microflora, are all forms of fiber that promote microflora colonization through fermentation; it should be noted that not all fiber is considered prebiotic. This prebiotic mechanism not only promotes healthy microflora growth, but also prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria as well (3).

As a result, whole pumpkin seeds deliver an extra burst of fiber.

These seeds are also high in zinc, magnesium, and copper, among other minerals. They’re also high in iron, which is necessary for blood health and oxygen transmission.

What are the risks related to whole seeds consumption?

Whole pumpkin seeds, while generally safe to ingest, can cause issues for some people. The seeds and seed extracts can cause allergic reactions. Antinutrients have been described in the seeds, including oxalates, tannins, and cyanide (1).

Here are some of the risks related to whole seeds consumption:

  • They can slow down bowel movement: 

Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), also known as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, should avoid or limit entire pumpkin seeds, including shelled variants.

Because pumpkin seeds are high in fiber, they can slow down your bowel movement, and if you eat too much or too often, they can induce gaseous distention, bloating, and constipation (especially if you eat with the pumpkin shells on). To avoid this, it is recommended that you consume 30 g of pumpkin seeds without the shells on a daily basis. Eating too much fiber (more than 50 to 60 grams of fiber per day) may decrease the amount of vitamins and minerals the body absorbs (3).

  • They can promote weight gain: 

Because these tiny seeds are high in calories and lipids, eating more than the recommended amount may lead you to gain weight.

  • They can reduce blood pressure:

People who are hypotensive should not eat pumpkin seed, since they have hypotensive effects (4).

How to prepare pumpkin seed shells?

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten with or without their shells. 

How to remove shells? To assist remove the pulp from the shells after scooping them out of the pumpkin, soak them in water for a few hours. (Eating the fleshy bits adhering to the shells is fine, although many people dislike the texture.) Add light spices and roast the seeds for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet on the top shelf of the oven.

How to include pumpkin seeds in your diet?

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw as a snack or added to recipes for added flavor and crunch. Here are some quick tips to add them in your diet:

  • Top your salads with pumpkin seeds.
  • Combine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit to make homemade granola.
  • Brush pumpkin seeds with olive oil and season with cumin and garlic powder before baking it till it becomes roasted and brown.
  • Blend entire, raw pumpkin seeds in a food processor until it becomes smooth to make your own pumpkin seed butter (similar to peanut butter).
  • Add raw, roasted, or grated pumpkin seeds on top of your cupcakes.
  • Toss pumpkin seeds into smoothies or add them to homemade sauces.


In this article, I answered the question: “Can you eat pumpkin seeds whole?” and listed their health benefits and gave easy ways to include them in your diet.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions related to this subject.


  1. Amin, T., and M. Thakur. Cucurbita mixta (pumpkin) seeds-a general overview on their health benefits. IJRSR, 2013, 4, 846-854. 
  2. Syed, Qamar Abbas, Mafia Akram, and Rizwan Shukat. Nutritional and therapeutic importance of the pumpkin seeds. seed, 2019, 21, 15798-15803.  
  3. Chellino, Michelle, Rachel E. Scherr, and Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr. Nutrition and Health Info Sheet: Fiber. 2016. University of California, Davis.
  4. Yadav, Mukesh, et al. Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review. Nutr res rev, 2010, 23, 184-190.