Pumpkin seed oil is an intensely dark green oil pressed from raw or roasted pumpkin seeds with many health benefits. It has a rich and nutty flavor and is a potent source of beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and DHT blocking compounds such as beta-sitosterol and delta-7-sterine.
High quality pumpkin seed oil is often used as a salad dressing mixed with fresh lemon juice or a good apple cider vinegar. It can also be used to add flavor and nutrition to soups, sauces and many other recipes. It should not, however, be used as an oil for frying or in baking as high temperatures can damage its delicate structure.
Here are 6 of the top health benefits of pumpkin seed oil.
1. Pumpkin Seed Oil and BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that affects many men around the world, particularly men over 50. BPH is believed to be due to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) promoting proliferation of prostate cells. This results in an enlargement of the prostate gland and can lead to problems and discomfort when urinating.
The phytosterol beta-sitosterol is found in significant concentrations in pumpkin seed oil and helps block the damaging effects of DHT by inhibiting its conversion from testosterone. Pumpkin seed oil also contains the mild steroid delta-7-sterine that specifically competes with DHT in the prostate and seems to help prevent prostate cell multiplication.
Alongside these two DHT blockers, pumpkin seed oil has high levels of antioxidant carotenoids, omega 9 fatty acids and zinc, all of which may help reduce a man’s risk of developing BPH. This study found pumpkin seed oil supplementation reduced symptoms and pain for men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia without negative side effects.
2. Hair Loss
Both an enlarged prostate and male pattern baldness are believed to result, at least in large part, from an overproduction of DHT. The same beta-sitosterol, delta-7-sterine and perhaps yet unidentified compounds in pumpkin seed oil that reduces DHT’s effect on the prostate cells, may also help prevent it having a negative effect on your hair follicles.
Some people even recommend applying pumpkin seed oil directly to the scalp for its DHT blocking properties. If you don’t want green hair then taking raw pumpkin seed oil by the spoonful or drizzled over a salad seems much more enjoyable.
3. Intestinal Parasites
Pumpkin seed oil has been traditionally used as a treatment for intestinal parasites. Taken on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning, it seems to have the unusual ability to paralyze parasites like the common tapeworm.
Importantly, this paralysis is temporary and is therefore followed with a laxative such as castor oil an hour later so the worms can be expelled in a bowel movement. Without a bowel movement they will recover.
It is generally recommended to continue this treatment for several days, with several days break and then repeat over the course of a couple of weeks.
Intestinal parasites are tenacious little things that can have a very negative effect on your health and energy and it seems many people are unknowingly infected with them. If you suspect a problem, consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional who understands how serious a problem parasites can be.
4. Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Pumpkin seed oil has high levels of phytosterols which are believed to help reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol) by lowering its absorption when taken with a meal containing cholesterol. Research, such as this study by the Department of Internal Medicine at Washington University, has shown high levels of phytosterols in the diet significantly decreased cholesterol absorption and may be of benefit in lowering a person’s risk of heart disease.
Taking pumpkin seed oil benefits your joints and the capsules are a popular supplement for the treatment of arthritic pain. The high levels of antioxidants, fatty acids and other compounds in pumpkin seed oil are often reported to help reduce inflammation in joints for sufferers of arthritis.
In fact, some research has shown the positive effects of pumpkin seed oil on arthritic inflammation is on a par with the anti-arthritis drug Indomethacin, without the negative side effects like elevated liver lipid peroxides.
6. Pumpkin Seed Oil Benefits for IBS Sufferers
Pumpkin seed oil may also help with the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The high fatty acid content is believed to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and many people report a lessening of symptoms when they take pumpkin seed oil regularly.
Calories in Pumpkin Seed Oil
A tablespoon of pumpkin seed oil has around 120 calories, primarily from omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. We need these kind of fats in our diet though and the health nutrient content of foods like pumpkin seed oil should generally always come before considerations about calories.
Where to Find Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil
A good pumpkin seed oil should be 100% pure, cold pressed and preferably organic. Pumpkin seed salad oil is a mixed product that may be of questionable quality, especially if it is blended with other unhealthy vegetable oils.
This rich tasting pumpkin seed oil is the best I’ve found for the price and a teaspoon a day with a meal is a good dosage to start with. For treating health conditions like prostate enlargement, arthritis or IBS a teaspoon with each meal will provide more benefits. If you prefer capsules, an inexpensive option are these 1000mg softgels, currently on good discount.
Pumpkin seed oil is very sensitive to light and heat so it’s best to keep the bottled oil in the fridge. Stored this way, it should last for several months. Pumpkin seed oil capsules are also best kept in away from light and heat but are better kept in a cupboard.
Taken regularly, pumpkin seed oil benefits many aspects of our health. While it is best known for its positive effect on prostate health and hair loss, the wide range of nutrients in pumpkin seed oil are likely to be beneficial in other important areas, like enhancing our immune systems, improving skin tone and preventing inflammation.