What is Pumpkin?
Winter squash include pumpkins and acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash. These members of the (Cucurbitaceae) family vary in shape, color, size, and ﬂavor, but they do share some common characteristics. Their shells are hard and difﬁcult to pierce, enabling them to have long storage periods of one to six months. Their ﬂesh is mildly sweet in ﬂavor and ﬁnely grained in texture. Additionally, all have seed-containing hollow inner cavities.
Varieties of winter squash include:
- Acorn squash: This squash has harvest green skin speckled with orange patches, and pale yellow-orange ﬂesh. It has a very unique sweet, nutty, and peppery ﬂavor.
- Butternut squash: Shaped like a large pear, this squash has cream-colored skin, deep orange-colored ﬂesh, and a sweet ﬂavor.
- Hubbard squash: A larger-sized squash that can be dark green, grey—blue, or orange-red in color, the Hubbard’s ﬂavor is less sweet than many other varieties’.
- Pumpkins: Small sugar pumpkins are the culinary variety, weighing only a few pounds, as opposed to the larger varieties used to carve jack-o’-lanterns.
- spaghetti squash: A larger-sized, yellow squash with light colored ﬂesh that pulls away in strands resembling spaghetti when cooked.
- Turban squash: Green in color and either speckled or striped, this squash has an orange-yellow ﬂesh whose taste is reminiscent of hazelnuts.
Native to Central America, squash has been consumed for more than 10,000 years. Squash was ﬁrst cultivated speciﬁcally for its seeds, since early squash did not contain much ﬂesh and what it did contain was very bitter and unpalatable. Over time, the cultivation of squash spread throughout both North and South America.
Cultivation led to the development of varieties with a greater quantity of sweeter-tasting ﬂesh. Early explorers to the Western Hemisphere, including Christopher Columbus, brought squash back to Europe, where it was subsequently extensively cultivated. Today, the largest commercial producers of squash include China, Japan, Romania, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, and Argentina.
What are the different types of pumpkins? Can all of them be used for cooking?
Any pumpkin can be used for cooking, but some varieties are better than others. The large pumpkins that you see in grocery stores around Halloween are best for carving jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkin varieties that are better for cooking include the Small Sugar (or New England Pie) pumpkins and Winter Luxury pumpkins. Buckskin, Chelsey, Dickinson Field and Kentucky Field are often used for commercial canning.
Pumpkin Nutritional Highlights
Winter squash, like other richly colored vegetables, are excellent sources of carotene—the richer the color, the richer the concentration. They are also a very good source of vitamins C and B 1, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, and dietary ﬁber. In addition, winter squash is a good source of vitamin B 6 and niacin.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains:
- 1.76 g of protein
- 2.7 g of fiber
- 49 calories
- 0.17 g of fat
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 12.01 g of carbohydrate
This amount of pumpkin also provides:
- more than 200 % of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A
- 19% of the RDA of vitamin C
- 10% or more of the RDA of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese
- at least 5% of thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus
- Preparing fresh pumpkin at home will deliver the most benefits for your health, but canned pumpkin is also a great choice. Pumpkin retains many of its health benefits it the canning process.
Steer clear of canned pumpkin pie mix. This is usually placed next to the canned pumpkin in grocery stores, and is sold in a similar can. It contains added sugars and syrups.
Canned pumpkin should have only one ingredient: Pumpkin.
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|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.1 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.5 g||2%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.298 mg||6%|
|Vitamin A||7384 IU||246%|
|Vitamin C||9.0 mg||15%|
|Vitamin E||1.06 mg||7%|
|Vitamin K||1.1 mcg||1%|
Carbs in Pumpkin
There are three types of carbohydrate in pumpkin. You’ll get 3 grams of dietary fiber in a cup of pumpkin. There are also 2 grams of naturally-occurring sugar in a single serving. The remaining carbs (7 grams) are starch or complex carbohydrates.
Pumpkin has a glycemic index (GI) of 75 making it a high glycemic food. As a reference, foods with a GI of 55 or below are considered low glycemic foods. However, pumpkin has a low glycemic load of just 3. Glycemic load takes serving size into account and many nutrition experts feel that it is a more accurate way to consider a food’s impact on blood sugar.
Because pumpkin has a low glycemic load and because it provides valuable vitamins and minerals, many people who follow a low glycemic diet still include pumpkin in their diets.
Fats in Pumpkin
There is no naturally-occurring fat in fresh pumpkin. Some varieties of canned pumpkin contain added fat. In addition, many pumpkin-flavored foods contain fat. For example, pumpkin pie contains added fat and many pumpkin-flavored baked goods get their soft texture from fat. Pumpkin-spiced coffee drinks, popular during the fall and winter months, often contain fat from the dairy that is used to make them.
Protein in Pumpkin
There are just two grams of protein in a cup of pumpkin. If you are trying to increase your intake of protein, you won’t get a significant boost with this vegetable. However, many pumpkin fans add fresh or canned pumpkin to protein smoothies to enjoy the flavor and boost their protein intake.
Micronutrients in Pumpkin
Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene—a carotenoid or natural pigment—that provides it with its bright orange or yellow color. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which helps you to maintain healthy skin, teeth, and vision. When you consume a cup of pumpkin, you’ll get 87 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A if you follow a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
You’ll also get 43 percent of your recommended intake of vitamin K, 29 percent of your recommended intake of copper, and 15 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. You’ll also get a healthy boost of magnesium (18 percent), iron (3 grams or 19 percent), and potassium (561 grams or 12 percent).
Daily fiber content
Pumpkins are a fantastic source of fiber. People in the United States (U.S.) do not consume enough fiber, with an average daily intake of just 15 g. The recommended daily fiber intake of is between 25 and 30 g. Fiber slows the rate of sugar absorption into the blood, as well as promoting regular bowel movements and smooth digestion. A healthful fiber intake can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
With nearly 3 grams (g) of fiber in cooked, fresh pumpkin and over 7 g in canned pumpkin, adding a serving of pumpkin to the daily diet can help supplement the fiber shortage in the average American diet.
It boosts your magnesium consumption
It is estimated that up to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium, a mineral that is used by every organ in your body. Although magnesium plays an essential role in bone and heart health, it is also found in more than 300 different enzymes. From producing energy to activating nerves and muscles, magnesium is essential.
When consuming just one ounce of pumpkin seeds, you benefit from nearly 40 percent of your daily recommended intake, just like that. Considering a deficiency can lead to anything from anxiety disorders to osteoporosis, pumpkin seeds are an easy and effective way to ensure you’re getting enough. Cooked spinach and dark chocolate are also great sources of magnesium.
Low in Calories:
Pumpkin is a very low calorie vegetable. 100 grams of pumpkin provide only 26 calories. Most of the dieticians recommend pumpkin in their weight reduction programs.
Rich Source of Beta Carotene:
The distinctive bright orange color of pumpkin indicates that it is a rich source of beta carotene. People who eat a diet rich in beta carotene are less likely to develop cancer. Beta-Cryptoxanthin and carotenoids in pumpkin decrease the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
Rich Source of Potassium:
Potassium is an important mineral required for proper functioning of the heart and muscles. One serving of pumpkin provides around 550 g of potassium, making it one of the highest sources of potassium. You can add pumpkin to your post workout snack or meal for the extra potassium boost.
Rich Source of Vitamin A:
Pumpkin is an excellent source of Vitamin A. This nutrient is required to keep the eye healthy and maintain good vision. Zea-xanthin in pumpkin has UV rays filtering actions in the retina of the eyes. This protects from the age-related macular diseases in the elderly.
Rich Source of Vitamin K:
Pumpkin is one of the best sources of Vitamin K. It contains around 40% of the daily recommended dose. Vitamin K is very beneficial for the health of bones and heart. Vitamin C in pumpkin is needed for proper growth and repair of the tissues in the body. One serving of pumpkins provides 20% of the daily recommended dosage.
Is canned pumpkin just as healthy as fresh pumpkin?
Some canned pumpkin contains ingredients other than the fresh squash. It’s important to read the ingredients list (underneath the Nutrition Facts label) to determine how healthy the product is. Look for canned pumpkin that contains no added sugar, added sodium or added fat. Many times canned pumpkin pie filling contains some of these added ingredients, making it less healthy than fresh pumpkin. But some canned pumpkin contains no added ingredients and is just as healthy as the fresh vegetable—although many cooks still prefer the fresh variety.
Pumpkin Health Benefits
Winter squash, especially the darker—ﬂeshed varieties such as pumpkin and acorn, provide exceptional amounts of carotene. Like other carotene-rich vegetables, winter squash have been shown to exert a protective effect against many cancers, particularly lung cancer. In addition to cancer and heart disease, diets rich in carotene also appear to offer protection against developing type 2 diabetes, with pumpkin consumption being the most protective.
Pumpkin seeds have also been shown to be helpful in reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
1. Regulating blood pressure
Eating pumpkin is good for the heart. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health. Studies suggest that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure. Decreasing sodium intake involves eating meals that contain little or no salt.
Increased potassium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, and preservation of bone mineral density.
2. Reducing the risk of cancer
Research has suggested a positive relationship between a diet rich in beta-carotene and a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Beta-carotene has also been shown to hold back the development of colon cancer in some of the Japanese population.
The authors of the study concluded:
“We found a statistically significant inverse association between higher plasma lycopene [a type of beta-carotene] concentrations and lower risk of prostate cancer, which was restricted to older participants and those without a family history of prostate cancer.”
Pumpkins contain a wealth of antioxidants. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage. A cross-sectional study of older African-American women showed that eating 3 or more fruit servings per day was associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration. It also led to slower progression of the disease.
3. Combating diabetes
Pumpkin helps to control diabetes. The plant compounds in pumpkin seeds and pulp are excellent for helping the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines, as well as balancing levels of liver glucose.
They may be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but this effect is not consistently demonstrated. However, the compounds have such an impact that researchers suggest that they could be reworked into an anti-diabetic medication, though further studies are needed.
4. Immune health
Pumpkin can protect immunity. Pumpkin pulp and seeds are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene. These offer a boost to the immune system using a powerful combination of nutrients. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A. This triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.
5. It offers health-boosting antioxidants
Pumpkins are packed with carotenoids, helping to protect your cells against free radical damage. Like carrots, this orange fruit is rich in beta-carotene, as well as alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. After consuming beta-carotene, for instance, your body converts it into vitamin A, all while boosting overall immune function.
Based on the antioxidant content of pumpkins, many companies are now utilizing its properties to make skin care products. Yes, that’s right — pumpkin can be applied topically, helping to increase cell turnover, resulting in smoother, healthier-looking skin. Of course, due to various antioxidants, pumpkin can also address signs of aging.
6. It protects your eyes
As mentioned, pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene and when consumed, you benefit from a safe source of vitamin A. In fact, when you consume just one cup of pumpkin, you benefit from nearly twice your recommended daily intake. This important vitamin helps to promote optimal vision health, reducing your risk of degenerative eye conditions, while also promoting healthy teeth and bones.
7. It improves sperm quality
Whether you’re a male or a wife hoping to start your adorable little family, pumpkin seeds may help improve sperm quality. Infertility has been linked to low zinc levels, but luckily pumpkin seeds are rich in this mineral. They may also support healthy testosterone levels and in turn, this combined effect benefits fertility.
To ensure you’re eating enough pumpkin seeds, make your own trail mix. This is a great snack to bring to work, helping to fuel both your body and mind. You can also incorporate pumpkin seeds into your favorite bread or muffin recipe with ease. If you’d like an even simpler recipe, try these roasted pumpkin seeds with lemon pepper, garlic and cayenne. Mmm, golden and crispy!
8. It protects your heart
If one thing is for certain, we need to look after our hearts — an organ that beats over 100,000 times a day. Aside from beneficial antioxidants and fiber, which both contribute to positive heart health, pumpkin seeds are packed with essential fats, phytosterols, magnesium and zinc.
Within one study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers studied the effects of pumpkin seed oil on hypertension. Researchers induced high arterial blood pressure in rats before treating them with pumpkin seed oil. Researchers concluded that pumpkin seed oil treatment not only normalized blood pressure levels but also protected the heart and aorta.
9. It’s great for expecting mommies
When you first find out you’re pregnant, you begin researching every aspect of your expected pregnancy, including what you should and should not eat. Pumpkin and its seeds can both be highly beneficial when expecting, protecting both the mother and fetus.
Rich in protein, zinc, vitamin A, folate and other key vitamins, pumpkin meat and seeds can support both you and your growing baby’s needs. Being high in fiber, pumpkin will also help reduce one of the more common symptoms of pregnancy: dreaded constipation.
10. It reduces inflammation
Offering anti-inflammatory benefits, pumpkin can help improve symptoms of arthritis. As reported in one animal study published in Pharmacological Research, researchers found pumpkin seed oil to be equally effective when compared to the pharmaceutical drug indomethacin, without the associated side effects. Whether you have a toothache or an inflamed throat, adding pumpkin to your regular diet can help reduce painful symptoms.
11. It protects your prostate
Using pumpkin seeds to treat an enlarged prostate and urinary tract complaints is an old remedy — one that is making a comeback. Considering over half of American men over the age of 50 suffer from issues related to an enlarged prostate, it’s important to protect yourself when you’re young.
Based on their high concentration of phytosterols, it’s believed that these compounds can shrink the prostate. Pumpkin seeds also offer chemicals which prevent the transformation of testosterone into DHT, a hormone that is often associated with an enlarged prostate, as well as male pattern baldness.
12. It’s a versatile ingredient
Perhaps most importantly, pumpkin can be used in so many ways, resulting in a delicious meal or snack. That’s what it’s all about — making healthy foods more enjoyable so that they are enjoyed day in and day out. If you like to cook, be creative and showcase pumpkin as the tasty and versatile ingredient it is.
13. Helps Weight Loss
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you might want to add pumpkin to your diet. It has a good amount of fiber, boasting of 1.7 g in a cup of pumpkin seeds, 3 g in mashed pumpkin, and 7 g in canned pumpkin. Fiber is just what your digestion needs to make things a lot smoother and a heavy dose of fiber every day can help with weight loss.
14. Boosts Mood
If the thought of eating a yummy pumpkin pie puts you in a good mood, here’s news for you. Eating pumpkin works wonders for your mood. Pumpkin seeds have a high amount of tryptophan, a type of amino acid that is the building block of a mood-lifting neurotransmitter named serotonin. Research has revealed that deficiency in serotonin can lead to anxiety and depression.
15. Improves Sleep Quality
Since pumpkins are rich in tryptophan, they could also act as a sleep stimulants. Tryptophan produces serotonin and this, in turn, relaxes and calms you, so you eventually fall asleep. A few experts even claim this could be the reason why people tend to sleep after a heavy Thanksgiving feast.
16. Reduces Risk Of Bladder Stones
One study found out munching on pumpkin seeds helped reduce the risk of bladder stones. It also helped decrease bladder pressure, increase bladder compliance, and reduce urethral pressure.
17. Improves Women’s Health After Menopause
Menopausal women can heave a sigh of relief. A recent study revealed pumpkin seed oil reduced postmenopausal signs. This includes headaches, hot flashes, and joint pains.19
Pumpkins are pretty versatile. You could make smoothies, desserts, energy bars, curries, and a lot more. Just experiment and happy munching!
Pumpkin Skin Benefits:
Benefits of pumpkin is for all skin types, particularly environmentally damaged or sensitive skin. Here are the benefits of pumpkin for skin.
18. Treatment of Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, you can try a face pack by mixing 1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Apply this on damp face and leave till it dries or up to 30 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water and then rinse with cold water. After this, you can apply an appropriate moisturizer meant for your skin type.
19. Treatment of Dry Skin
For dry skin, mix 2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin puree with ½ teaspoon honey, ¼ teaspoon milk and ¼ teaspoon heavy whipping cream. Apply this evenly on your face avoiding the eye area let it settle for 10-15 minutes. This mask exfoliates, nourishes and conditions your skin. Rinse off with warm water and apply a moisturizer meant for your skin type.
20. Anti-ageing Benefits
Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant and also contains beta-carotene which helps to reverse UV damage and improve skin texture. It helps to promote the production of collagen, thus improving your skin tone and elasticity. It protects the skin from radical damage which is responsible for causing wrinkles and even skin cancer.
21. Treatment of Dark Spots:
To fade dark spots, prepare a face pack by mixing 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil. Apply this mixture on damp face for 30 minutes or until it dries and rinse off with lukewarm water.
22. Pumpkin Body Mask:
You can prepare a refreshing body mask by mixing ½ cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree with ½ cup coconut solids and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Apply this all over your body, massaging gently. Leave this mask for about 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. This will refresh and relax your skin.
23. Treatment of Acne:
Pumpkin is a good source of B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, B6 and folate. Niacin improves circulation, and hence, is beneficial in treating acne. And folate helps to increase circulation, which improves cell turnover and renewal.
Pumpkin Hair Benefits:
Besides its benefits in skincare, pumpkin offers several benefits for your hair, thanks to its rich nutritional value. As we all know, hair follicles require adequate supply of nutrients for their optimal growth and health. Pumpkin is beneficial for your hair in the following ways.
24. Promotes Hair Growth
Pumpkin is a rich source of minerals including potassium and zinc. Potassium helps in keeping hair healthy and improve re-growth. Zinc helps maintain collagen and thus play an important role in promoting healthy hair. It also contains folate, an important B vitamin that stimulates hair growth by improving blood circulation.
25. Great Conditioner for Dry Hair
If you have dry hair, you can prepare a simple hair conditioner using pumpkin. All you need to do is mix 2 cups of chopped and cooked pumpkin with 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon yoghurt. Make a puree with the mixture of pumpkin and yogurt in a food processor or blender. Then add coconut oil and honey to make a smooth mixture. Apply it to damp shampooed hair, wear a plastic shower cap and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly and style as usual.
How To Select And Store Pumpkin
Winter squash is prone to decaying easily, so it is important to inspect it carefully before purchase. Choose winter squash that are ﬁrm, heavy for their size, and have dull, not glossy, rinds. The rind should be hard, as a soft rind may indicate that the squash is watery and lacking in ﬂavor. Avoid those with any signs of decay, which will manifest in spots that are water-soaked or mouldy.
Winter squash has a much longer storage life than summer squash. Depending upon the variety, it can be kept for between one and six months. It should be kept away from direct exposure to light and should not be subject to extreme heat or extreme cold. The ideal temperature for storing winter squash is between 50 and 60 degrees F/ 10 to 16 degrees C.
Once it is cut, cover the pieces of winter squash in cling ﬁlm and store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for one to two days. The best way to freeze winter squash is to ﬁrst cut it into pieces of suitable size for individual recipes. Cooked winter squash will keep for three to ﬁve days refrigerated.
How to incorporate pumpkin into your diet
There is a range of ways to eat more pumpkin. Although the variety of pumpkins that usually ends up carved into a jack-o-lantern is perfectly edible, it is best to cook with the sweeter and smaller sweet or pie pumpkin varieties. Make sure the pumpkin has a few inches of stem left and is hard and heavy for its size. Store uncut pumpkins in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months.
Here are some simple tips for including pumpkin in your diet:
- Make your own pumpkin puree instead of buying canned.
- Use pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin in place of oil or butter in any baking recipe.
- Make a quick treat of pumpkin chocolate yogurt by combining Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin, honey, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.
- Registered dieticians recommend these blueberry pumpkin oat muffin, pumpkin power smoothie, and pumpkin pie recipes.
Next time pumpkin season comes around, don’t carve it up. Cook it and eat it.
Tips For Preparing Pumpkin
Wash winter squash thoroughly under cold running water with a vegetable brush. If it has been waxed or is not organically grown, you will need to soak the squash in cold water with a mild solution of additive-free soap or use a produce wash and then gently scrub with a vegetable brush and rinse. After washing winter squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds and ﬁbrous material in the cavity. Depending upon the recipe preparation, you can use the winter squash either peeled or unpeeled.
Quick Serving Ideas for Pumpkin
- To cook halved squash, pierce it in several locations with a knife to allow any steam to escape, and then bake in a 350 degree F/180 degree C./gas 4 oven for 45 minutes to one hour, until a knife can be easily inserted near the stem. Top with a little butter and maple syrup or brown sugar.
- Spaghetti squash is often prepared as a substitute for spaghetti by baking or steaming it until the rind softens, usually 30 to 45 minutes; then it is cut in half lengthwise and the spaghetti strands are removed. You can top the “strings” of spaghetti squash with pasta sauce.
- Pumpkin and other varieties of winter squash, such as acorn and butternut, are often mashed like potatoes and either eaten as such or used in bread, cake, mufﬁn, and pie recipes.
- Top puréed, cooked winter squash with cinnamon and honey.
- Combine pureed, cooked winter squash with stewed apple and serve alone as a pudding-like dessert, or as a topping for pancakes, wafﬂes, and oatmeal.
- Steam cubes of winter squash for ﬁve minutes, and then dress with olive oil, tamari, ginger, and pumpkin seeds.
- Add cubes of winter squash to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.
Perfect Pumpkin Recipe
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Perfect for those chillier nights, this recipe is healthy, delicious and easy!
- 1 small pumpkin
- 1 onion
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1.5 cups of vegetable broth
- 1.5 cups of coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- Olive oil (to brush on pumpkin flesh)
- Pumpkin seeds and fresh rosemary (to garnish)
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F before cutting your pumpkin in half. Spoon out the strings and seeds, saving the seeds for roasting.
2. Using olive oil, brush the flesh of the pumpkin and place the halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately one hour — a fork should be able to pierce the skin. When cooked, allow to cool.
3. On your stovetop, saute garlic and onions until translucent — then add turmeric to toast slightly.
4. Add all remaining ingredients (pumpkin flesh, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper) and bring to a simmer.
5. Once incorporated, use an emulsion blender to create a smoother consistency and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.
6. When ready to serve, garnish with rosemary and pumpkin seeds. If you’d like to roast your own, simply toss seeds in olive oil and salt, baking for around 40 to 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
Negative Effects Of Pumpkin
There are potential side effects associated with them. Read on to get a brief of the pumpkin seeds side effects with us right here:
1. Stomach Ache:
Pumpkin seeds cause stomach ache when consumed in huge quantities. It is a rich source of fatty oils, which on ingestion beyond acceptable levels, could cause stomach upset followed by cramps and pain. Just try eating a handful only at a time or eat it along with other foods to nullify this side effect.
2. Absence Of Nutrients:
You might be at the risk of losing various nutrients if you do not consume these seeds proper way. Overcooking or lack of chewing will actually deprive you of the benefits. Crisp cooked pumpkin seeds are devoid of water-soluble nutrients such as Vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin C. If you are cooking these seeds, then keep the heat to the lowest possible level. Also, chew them properly instead of swallowing.
3. Not Good For People On Diuretic Drugs:
Edema is commonly seen in people with renal disorders or certain cardiovascular issues. Studies suggest that these seeds possess innate mild diuretic powers, which in turn could interact with diuretic drugs, paving way for an increased visits to the washroom. This might actually affect the mineral balance in your body. So, beware if you are on diuretic drugs!
4. Not Safe For Infants:
Pumpkin seeds contain protein and iron in admirable quantities, making it a tempting snack for the infants. However, being packed with fiber and fatty acids, these are not recommended for infants as it could trigger stomach cramps, pain, vomiting, and even diarrhea.
5. Not Safe For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women:
There are no scientific evidences that support the use or non-use of pumpkin seeds during pregnancy and lactation period. However, it is good to stay on the safe side ingesting only food amounts. It is advisable to avoid this side effect of pumpkin seeds during pregnancy phase.
6. Allergy To Pumpkin Seeds:
While these are not highly allergenic when compared to other seed varieties, there are certain allergic reactions that could be triggered by using pumpkin seeds, with the skin being the primary target. Here is what you can expect if you fall prey to pumpkin seed allergy:
- Eczema characterized by scaly, inflamed, red skin.
- Itching and hives.
- Rhinoconjunctivitis with characteristic nasal congestion and sneezing.
- Allergic asthma.
- Obstructed breathing.
- Swelling and redness in and around the mouth.
- Throat irritation.
- Shortness of breath.
- Fix an appointment with your physician quickly for verifying and take appropriate medications.
7. Not Safe For People With Hypoglycemia:
Studies conducted on the goodness of pumpkin seeds suggest that these are ideal snack options for diabetics as they possess blood sugar regulating potential. It actually lowers glucose level in blood, thus preventing the unwanted escalation. If you are on anti-diabetic medications or if you are hypoglycemic, then it would be advisable to include pumpkin seeds in your diet after consulting with your doctor.
8. Could Cause Unwanted Weight Gain:
100 grams of pumpkin seeds give you a whopping 559 calories, with a 49.05 g of fat [164% of the recommended daily allowance of fat]. So make sure that you eat this snack in moderation unless you want to gain weight. Obesity is the underlying reason for many health conditions, including hypertension and diabetes. So, check with your doctor, especially if you are on a weight loss track before including these seeds in your diet.
9. Not Safe For People With Low Blood Pressure:
Pumpkin seeds are rich antioxidants by nature. This enables them to lower the blood pressure level. Hence, if you are suffering from hypotension or you are in a hypertensive on anti-hypertensive medications, then it is advisable to use the seeds after discussing the associated complications and risks with your doctor.
Pumpkin seed, in fact, is a healthy snack with a wide assortment of health benefits. However, these are also calorie and fat dunked delights. So exert caution with your portion sizes and stay safe from the side effects of pumpkin seeds.
Winter squash is not associated with any safety, issues.