Could your ticker use some support? According to the American Heart Association (AHA), nearly half of American adults deal with cardiovascular disease. This common health problem can manifest into several serious complications or even death if left unchecked. Fortunately, you can give your heart the support it needs in plenty of ways — such as consuming pumpkin seed oil.
Derived from the unhusked seeds of pumpkin, cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil (also known as pepita oil) has a wide range of uses, from cosmetic to health and wellness. You can find it at most grocers and in some health stores. Like pumpkin seeds, the coveted oil is a great source of essential nutrients, particularly vitamin E. It also contains omega-6, omega-3, and omega-9 fatty acids, which are fantastic for the heart.
Researchers from Harvard University say that these healthy fats may support the body’s natural defense against heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. In other words, if you’re looking to support your heart health, the nutritious oil derived from pumpkins just might be the way to go. That said, here are some other great benefits of pumpkin seed oil.
It supports the immune system.
Whether you have diabetes, digestive disorders, cancer, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, or heart disease, each starts as a side effect of inflammation at the cellular level. This is why inflammation is sometimes referred to as the “root of all disease.”
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense mechanism and plays a major role in healing. When the body discovers an intruder, such as an irritant or pathogen, it launches a natural biological response via inflammatory cells and cytokines to try to remove it.
Though the immune system does an excellent job of keeping your body healthy, it can sometimes mistakenly perceive natural tissues or cells as a threat. This reaction can lead to autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
As mentioned earlier, pumpkin seed oil is rich in vitamin E, which may be able to support the body in fighting free radicals and, therefore, soothe the body’s immune response. If you’re struggling with an inflammatory issue, consider talking with your healthcare provider about adding pumpkin seed oil to your diet.
It boosts urinary tract health.
The oleic acid, linoleic acid, and microelements in pumpkins have caused experts to wonder if pumpkin seed oil supplements could support improved urinary tract and prostate health. In one scientific study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, researchers found pumpkin seed oil extracts soothe the symptoms of urinary disorders, specifically overactive bladder.
It encourages mental well-being.
Believe it or not, findings from the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that pumpkin seed oil improves one’s outlook. Researchers found that children with feelings of prolonged sadness who consumed pumpkin seeds experienced a positive mood. This may be due to the seed’s high potassium and magnesium content, which soothe feelings of stress. Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that supports serotonin production and feelings of calm and relaxation.
Note: Depression is a mental health disorder affecting more than 21 million people in the United States. Sadness is a perfectly normal and healthy emotion, but if you feel like you might have a depressive disorder, speak to your doctor to get the help you need.
It facilitates hair growth.
For most of us, thinning hair is a fact of aging. Pumpkin seed oil, however, might help to mitigate that. In a 2021 study in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers compared the beneficial oil to minoxidil five percent foam on female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). They randomly assigned participants to a pumpkin seed or minoxidil group for three months. The study indicated that pumpkin seed oil might be worth trying for those looking to grow long, luscious locks.
It eases menopausal symptoms.
Pumpkin seeds may be itty-bitty, but they are rich in natural phytoestrogens (plant compounds comparable to human estrogen) and phytosterols (plant compounds comparable to cholesterol), which can naturally support healthy blood pressure, soothe hot flashes and joint discomfort, and other common menopausal symptoms. According to researchers, 2 grams of pumpkin seed oil per day over 12 weeks has shown to help menopausal women find relief.
It supports healthy skin.
Pumpkin seed oil is an incredible plant-based ingredient that can do wonders for the integumentary system because it’s rich in several skin care nutrients.
- Vitamin A keeps skin taut and healthy.
- Vitamin B softens the skin and improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
- Vitamin C minimizes the appearance of dark spots.
- Vitamin E reduces inflammation and helps to strengthen skin barrier function.
- Beta Carotene protects against UV radiation from the sun.
- Potassium supports the rapid growth of new cells for a youthful and glowing complexion.
- Magnesium strengthens the skin against acne.
- Zinc encourages cell turnover and helps maintain healthy collagen levels.
In addition, the nourishing oil is high in omegas 3, 6, and 9. All three of these fatty acids are crucial for a healthy integumentary system. Simply put, the omega fatty acids in pumpkin seed oil form the key building blocks for skin, which means a naturally smooth, youthful, healthy complexion.
It promotes eye health.
Pumpkin seed oil is great for the skin, but did you know it’s good for your peepers, too? The beneficial oil is full of nutrients known to support eye health. One of these nutrients is zeaxanthin — a carotenoid that can help protect the eyes from harmful UV rays and blue light. Carotenoids are what give pumpkins their warm, orange hue and help to strengthen and protect vision.
A 2014 study showed carotenoids could help the body’s natural defense against various conditions. The carotenoid zeaxanthin in pumpkin seed oil acts as a powerful antioxidant. It may help to support eye health, specifically in people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This common condition affects visual acuity as you age, resulting in blurred vision, failure to see in dim light, or even partial or complete vision loss. Pumpkin seed oil is also a rich source of vitamins (such as C and E) and minerals (like zinc), which are excellent for eye health.
The Last Word
Adding pumpkin seed oil to your diet is a smart way to give your body what it needs to stay healthy and happy. Mix it into your salad dressing, swap it out for coconut oil in relevant recipes, or take it as a supplement. Either way, you’ll receive a ton of those benefits. But of course, always speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements!