Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1st Revision: Bea Brownlee
  • 2nd Revision: Tan Jit Yih

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are flat, oval shaped seeds found in the centre of pumpkins. Once removed from the fruit, rinsed and dried, they can be eaten raw or roasted. They can be eaten alone as a tasty snack, or added to other foods like salads or granola for taste and texture. Many of their properties make them a food with a high number of health benefits.

Nutritional value of pumpkin seeds

Vitamins and minerals found in pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, which is important in healing wounds. Other nutrients include:

  • Manganese: 56% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)
  • Copper: 42% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 40% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA
  • Zinc: 20% of the RDA
  • Iron: 14% of the RDA

Additionally, they contain antioxidants, which prevent or delay some types of cell damage.

High fibre content of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in fibre and contribute to your daily fibre intake. Per 28g (roughly 1oz), they provide 1.7g of fibre. Fibre can promote good digestive health in addition to other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

Calorie and carbohydrate count

Pumpkin seeds are calorie dense, meaning that for their size they pack in a lot of calories. Per 28g (roughly 1oz), they contain 160 calories and 3g of carbohydrates. 

Health benefits of pumpkin seeds

Improved heart health

The American Heart Association highlights that the high fibre content in pumpkin seeds is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and obesity. The magnesium in pumpkin seeds has also been linked to improved bone and heart health as well as reducing blood pressure.  Pumpkin seed oil may also aid in heart health by reducing cholesterol. 

Better blood sugar regulation

Preliminary studies have shown that the macro molecules found in pumpkin seeds contain hypoglycaemic properties which can assist in blood sugar level regulation. The magnesium in pumpkin seeds also helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

Reduced inflammation

Pumpkin seeds are high in anti-inflammatory nutrients, which include antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium and B vitamins like folate. Their anti-inflammatory properties may help to alleviate the discomfort in arthritis

Additional health benefits of pumpkin seeds

May improve sleep: Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to make the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin.1 The magnesium in pumpkins seeds has also been linked to improved sleep.2 

May improve sperm quality: Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which may be linked to improved sperm quality. A study showed that low zinc levels were associated with higher risk of infertility. The antioxidants and other minerals in pumpkin seeds are also associated with increased testosterone levels.  

Better prostate and bladder health: A study found that taking 10g of pumpkin oil daily can have a positive effect on bladder function. There have also been several studies demonstrating that eating pumpkin seeds can reduce symptoms associated with enlarged prostates.3

Linked to a reduced risk of certain types of cancer: Pumpkin seed extract has been found to slow the growth and spread of prostate cancer.4 In 2012, another study identified that eating pumpkin seeds could reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. 

Different ways to consume pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds are just as healthy as raw pumpkin seeds, as the roasting process does not destroy the fibre, protein and minerals found in them. There are additional benefits to roasting pumpkin seeds over eating them raw - apart from bringing in flavours, aromas and textures, the roasting process also increases the amount of antioxidants in the seeds and makes them easier to digest. Roasted pumpkin seeds are often eaten alone as a snack, added to salads or soups as a garnish or added to form granola. 

Pumpkin seed oil

The oil from pumpkin seeds is proven to have multiple health benefits. It is packed full of unsaturated fats and antioxidants. Studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil has benefits for the health of your heart and urinary tract. 

There is also some evidence that pumpkin seed oil has beneficial effects on hair and skin, especially on hair growth in males. One study found that men who consumed 400mg of pumpkin seed oil daily for 24 weeks had 40% more hair growth than a control group who took a placebo. 

Pumpkin seed oil is usually taken in capsule form, but can also be purchased as a liquid, which people also use in cooking. The majority of health food shops sell pumpkin seed oil. 

Pumpkin seed milk

Pumpkin seed milk is a great alternative to dairy or nut-based milk, such as almond or cashew milk. The pumpkin seeds give it a nutty and creamy taste. You can keep pumpkin seed milk in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4-5 days.5

Possible side effects and precautions

Allergic reactions

Whilst pumpkin seed allergies are not as common as other seed allergies, such as sesame seeds, they can unfortunately cause allergic reactions in some people. These allergic reactions can range from mild to life threatening.

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction are:6

  • Skin rash and itching
  • Itchy mouth and throat
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Anaphylaxis

If you experience any of the reactions above, it is important that you seek urgent medical attention.

If you are allergic to pumpkin seeds, you may also be allergic to other similar food types, such as: apples, apricots, cherries, pears and peaches.6

If you are concerned about a possible allergy to pumpkin seeds, or to anything else, consult your doctor for an allergy test. 

Interactions with medications

Whilst most medications are generally safe to take alongside pumpkin seeds, there are a couple to be mindful of.

If you are taking warfarin, it is advised that you do not consume food that is high in vitamin K, such as pumpkins or pumpkin seeds. Warfarin is an anticoagulant (also known as a blood thinner) often prescribed to people at risk of blood clots, strokes or heart attacks, and it works by slowing down your body’s process of forming blood clots. Vitamin K helps with the blood clotting function, which may actively work against warfarin. That being said, it is important not to avoid vitamin K altogether, as it is required for bone health. If you are prescribed warfarin, consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet that would increase your vitamin K intake.

Another medication to be mindful of, although it is seldom used these days, is lithium, a psychiatric medication commonly known as a mood stabiliser. It is used to help manage bipolar and major depressive disorders. Lithium toxicity is very serious and can result in coma, brain damage or even death, so lithium levels are monitored closely in those taking the medication. Pumpkin seeds can reduce how quickly the body gets rid of lithium, meaning that it could build up and become highly dangerous. 

High calorie count

Pumpkin seeds are a calorie dense food, which, as previously mentioned, means they contain a high amount of calories for their size. Being rich in vitamins and minerals, they can be part of a healthy diet and have many benefits. It is important, however, to be mindful of the high calorie count if you are trying to lose weight or are on a diet that involves restricting your calorie intake. 


Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of calories, vitamins and nutrients with multiple health benefits identified over the years. They can form part of a healthy, balanced diet and can be consumed in a variety of ways. 

There are some precautions to be aware of when considering adding pumpkin seeds to your diet. They have adverse interactions with some medications, most notably lithium and warfarin, so consult your doctor before adding them to your diet. They are also calorie rich, so be careful if you are on a calorie-controlled diet. Lastly, some people can have allergic reactions to pumpkin seeds, which range from mild to severe. If you have allergies to other seeds or nuts, consider an allergy test before eating pumpkin seeds. 


  1. Al-zuhair H, Abd el-fattah AA, Abd el latif HA. Efficacy of simvastatin and pumpkin-seed oil in the management of dietary-induced hypercholesterolemia. Pharmacological Research [Internet]. 1997 May 1 [cited 2023 Mar 23];35(5):403–8. Available from:
  1. Hruby A, Guasch-Ferré M, Bhupathiraju SN, Manson JE, Willett WC, McKeown NM, et al. Magnesium intake, quality of carbohydrates, and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three u. S. Cohorts. Diabetes Care [Internet]. 2017 Dec [cited 2023 Mar 23];40(12):1695–702. Available from:
  1. Arab A, Rafie N, Amani R, Shirani F. The role of magnesium in sleep health: a systematic review of available literature. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2023 Jan;201(1):121–8.
  1. Vitalini S, Dei Cas M, Rubino FM, Vigentini I, Foschino R, Iriti M, et al. Lc-ms/ms-based profiling of tryptophan-related metabolites in healthy plant foods. Molecules [Internet]. 2020 Jan 13 [cited 2023 Mar 23];25(2):311. Available from:
  1. Gawryjołek J, Ludwig H, Żbikowska-Götz M, Bartuzi Z, Krogulska A. Anaphylaxis after consumption of pumpkin seeds in a 2-y-old child tolerant to its pulp: A case study. Nutrition [Internet]. 2021 Sep 1 [cited 2023 Mar 23];89:111272. Available from:
  2. Patel A, Bahna SL. Hypersensitivities to sesame and other common edible seeds. Allergy [Internet]. 2016 Oct [cited 2023 Mar 23];71(10):1405–13. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.
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Karl Jones

BA Hons in Learning Disability Nursing, Diploma in Mental Health Nursing (Oxford Brookes

Karl has 12 years of experience in learning disability and mental health nursing in a variety of
settings. He has worked predominantly in general hospitals specialising in suicide prevention and the
psychological impact on long term health conditions. Most recently he has worked as a clinical
educator in the field of mental health. He is currently focusing on writing as a career with the aim of
imparting his knowledge to a wider audience.

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