Can you eat raw pumpkin seeds? (7 health benefits)
In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “Can you eat raw pumpkin seeds?”, and we will discuss the benefits and side effects of consuming raw pumpkin seeds, and how you can safely eat them.
Can you eat raw pumpkin seeds?
Yes, you can eat raw pumpkin seeds, they are small-shelled seeds, healthy and full of nutrients. Usually, the shells are cracked open to eat the seeds inside (1,2).
The ones available in the market are without the shell. However, the seeds that you take out of pumpkin have a shell around them and these seeds are roasted to get a better taste and to easily remove the shell (2).
These seeds could be eaten whole with the shell, too. Shells are high in fibre and should not be eaten by people with digestive problems as the shelled seeds are hard to digest.
What are the health benefits of raw pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of various nutrients, proteins, and fibres. Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants grant enormous health benefits. Unshelled seeds are also an excellent source of minerals like magnesium and zinc (1,2).
According to studies, eating pumpkin seeds can help to reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges (3,4).
The seeds of pumpkin are also high in a very crucial carbohydrate, fibres. They promote better digestion and gut health. They may suppress blood glucose, as they are the type of carbs that are excreted instead of getting absorbed (1).
Lower blood pressure
A few studies have indicated that pumpkin seeds may be beneficial in lowering high blood pressure due to the presence of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants (1).
They may decrease circulating high-density lipoprotein and prevent various heart complications (1).
Improve sleep quality
Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that promotes sleep. To improve your sleep, you need to consume 1 g of tryptophan daily. So, you can incorporate pumpkin seeds into your daily diet, this might help in increased intake of tryptophan (2,5).
Raw pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, folate, vitamin E, and K. They are a significant factor in lowering inflammatory reactions. Less inflammation promotes better health (2).
Source of magnesium
Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium and are considered one of the best natural sources. Magnesium promotes a healthy heart and bones (1,2).
Pumpkin seed oil is beneficial in promoting hair growth. Several studies performed on males with baldness showed a positive response. Minerals such as zinc and magnesium, present in pumpkin seed oil, are responsible for hair growth (1,6).
What are the side effects of raw pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are usually safe to eat. However, since they are high in fibre, eating the seeds in large amounts or excessively can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, and diarrhoea (13).
Additionally, pumpkin seeds contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that can hinder the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc, leading to potential mineral deficiencies over time (7).
Some people may be allergic to pumpkin seeds, especially individuals with nut or seed allergies (8).
Inspect your pumpkin seeds before consuming them to avoid microbial contamination (9).
Does the nutritional value of raw pumpkin seeds change after cooking?
Yes. The process of cooking, especially roasting, can lead to changes in the composition of pumpkin seeds (10).
Cooking can cause some loss of heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C, especially if you overcook or roast at high temperatures (10,11).
However, cooking can also enhance the bioavailability of certain nutrients, for instance, making the seed’s protein and fat more digestible (10,11).
How can you safely eat raw pumpkin seeds?
To safely eat raw pumpkin seeds, check them for signs of spoilage.
Wash the seeds under running water to remove any dirt (12).
You can safely eat the seeds raw, but roasting them at low temperatures can improve their digestibility and reduce the risk of hazardous pathogens (11).
Store the pumpkin seeds in an air container in a cool, dry place or freeze at -18 °C to maintain their freshness and prevent spoilage, this way you can use them after (14).
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you eat raw pumpkin seeds?” and we also discussed the benefits and side effects of eating raw pumpkin seeds, and how you can safely eat them.
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