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Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seed Nutrition

Updated on September 12, 2014

Discover the Health Benefits of Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin is a very healthy and nutritious food, one that has many health benefits. It is a squash-like plant that produces it's fruit during the fall of the year, a time when many people think about pumpkin pies.

There are many other types of recipes that can use pumpkins as a main ingredient.

After reading about the many health benefits of pumpkin, you may be inclined to try adding a bit more pumpkin to your morning smoothies and to your soups.

You may even want to experience the health benefits of pumpkin seeds, or petitas.

Image by 13dede.

Pumpkins

Image by mconnors
Image by mconnors

Pumpkins Ready to Eat image by mconnors

Image by Kirsti A. Dyer
Image by Kirsti A. Dyer

Nutritional Data on Pumpkins

Pumpkin is an excellent source of Vitamin A and fiber. 100 % pumpkin is also low in calories and in fat. Pumpkin has some protein and it is loaded with Vitamin A, with most of it in the form of Beta-carotene.

Pumpkin is contains some the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium and the Vitamins, Niacin, Folate, Vitamin C and Vitamin E in addition to the Vitamin A (beta-carotene)

The beta-carotene gives pumpkin the bright orange color, but it is also a powerful antioxidant. As one of the body's antioxidants, beta-carotene helps protect the body from damaging free radicals.

Current research shows that eating a diet rich beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and may protect against some of the aspects of aging. Vitamin A may also offers protection against heart disease and other diseases.

It should be easy to see after reading the pumpkin nutrition facts that eating pumpkin can be very beneficial to your health.

Nutritional Data on Pumpkin compiled from the USDA Nutrient Composition Tables and Pumpkin Nutrition Facts.

Pumpkin Nutrition Data © Kirsti A. Dyer

Pumpkin, Can, Organic, 15 oz.
Pumpkin, Can, Organic, 15 oz.

Order organic pumpkin from Amazon.

 

Pumpkin Nutrition Video Clip on YouTube

Find out why pumpkin is one of the most nutritionally valuable foods known to man.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

Pumpkin Smoothie

Once the fall rolls around, I will add pumpkin (and sometimes sweet potato) to the morning smoothie recipe that I fix for my girls.

Ingredients:

1 cup orange juice (50% less sugar)

2 bananas

1 pear (optional)

1 cup greek yogurt

1/2 - 3/4 cup 100 % canned pumpkin (no extra sugar)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

1/2 cup egg whites (optional)

Directions:

1. Puree bananas, pear with orange juice and egg whites.

2. Add yogurt and pumpkin and spices.

3. Mix on high until well blended.

4. Pour into glasses.

Recipe © Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS

Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Soup | Source

Pumpkin Soup

An easy and inexpensive Pumpkin Soup recipe from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Recipe Finder.

Ingredients:

1 can (15 ounce) rinsed and drained white beans

1 small onion or 2 tsp. onion powder

1 cup water

1 can (15 ounces) plain pumpkin

1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth, low-salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme or tarragon

salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Instructions:

1. Blend white beans, onion, and water.

2. In a soup pot, mix bean puree with pumpkin, broth, and spices.

3. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 to 20 minutes until warmed through.

Garnish with some thyme or tarragon.

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cup

Yield: 4 servings

Cost:

Per Recipe: $ 3.13

Per Serving: $ 0.78

From U.S. Department of Agriculture Pumpkin Soup.

Adapted from: Senior Nutrition Awareness Project (SNAP) Newsletters. University of Connecticut Family Nutrition Program

Pumpkin and White Bean Soup

Here is an easy, healthy recipe for Pumpkin and White Bean Soup from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Data Base of Recipes.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups apple juice

1 can (15 ounces) small white beans

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup water

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin

½ teaspoon cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, or ginger (if you like)

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Mash white beans, onion, and water with a fork or blender until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, add the pumpkin, juice, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt. If using nutmeg, allspice, or ginger, add that too. Stir.

3. Add the bean mix to the pot.

4. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Data:

Nutrition Information for 1 serving of Pumpkin and White Bean Soup

Calories 140

Calories from Fat 5

Total Fat 1 g

Saturated Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 420 mg

Total Carbohydrate 28 g

Dietary Fiber 7 g

Sugar 10 g

Protein 7 g

Vitamin A 550 RAE

Vitamin C 30 mg

Calcium 60 mg

Iron 2 mg

From U.S. Department of AgricultureFact Sheet: Apple Juice.

Pumpkin, a Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year

Pumpkin, a Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year
Pumpkin, a Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year

Author DeeDee Stoval offers many suggestions in her book in pumpkins for helping people to keep eating the super food, all year long. The book, includes 125 recipes to use pumpkins in beverages, starters, and snacks to soups, salads, main courses, pies, cookies, breads, and cakes.

 

Winter Squash & Pumpkins From Seed To Supper

Winter Squash & Pumpkins From Seed To Supper
Winter Squash & Pumpkins From Seed To Supper

Winter Squash & Pumpkins From Seed To Supper includes more than 85 recipes and procedures from seed planting to harvest and on to sweet buttered squash, pumpkin pie or seed eating.

 

Canned Pumpkin available on Amazon

You can order pumpkin on Amazon if you can't find it in your neighborhood.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

Nutritional Data on Pumpkin Seeds

This nutritional data shows some of the nutritional benefits of eating pumpkin seeds or pepitas.

From the nutritional data chart one can see that pumpkin seeds are a good source mono-unsaturated fatty acids or the healthy fats that help protect people from heart disease. They are also naturally low in cholesterol and contain phytosterols which help to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (the less healthy cholesterol).

Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of fiber and protein with 1 gram of fiber and 8 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons.

In addition, pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, iron, niacin, selenium and zinc. When eaten raw, as with these, pumpkin seeds are low in sodium.

Nutritional Data adapted from Bob's Red Mill Raw Pumpkin Seeds.

Parasites (Tapeworms)
Parasites (Tapeworms) | Source

Pumpkin Seeds and Parasites

Pumpkin seeds have been used for centuries in different cultures and different medical traditions as a treatment for parasites as an antihelminitic to treat the helminths more commonly known as the tapeworms and roundworms. Some compound or chemical in the pumpkin seeds helps with expelling the parasites.

A common German folk remedy uses pumpkin seed oil to treat tapeworms. Native Americans used pumpkin seeds to treat intestinal infections. One of the old books on American Indian Medicine states that the United States Pharmacopoeia listed pumpkin seeds as an official medicine for parasite elimination from 1863 to 1936.

Some older studies in China and Russia have suggested that pumpkin seeds may be effective against tapeworms and roundworms and other studies in China have shown them to be effective against another parasitic infection, schistosomiasis.

I studied parasites in graduate school and medical school, but don't remember studying anything about folk remedies or native medicine traditions for treating helminths. According to Mosby's most recent edition of the Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements (4th from 2010), pumpkin seeds have been down to decrease human tapeworms, however finding studies to support these findings may be difficult.

It is possible that the pumpkin seeds may work, but most of the evidence may be anecdotal, so proceed with caution when trying treatments.

Source: Healthnotes. Pumpkin.

Image by Tirch.

Articles on Parasites and Pumpkin Seeds

The articles that I have included here are ones that had the most evidence and research behind the writings and a few general ones on tapeworms.

Pumpkin Seeds - Pepitas

Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds | Source
Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds | Source

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are easier to fix than many people may think. The hardest part may be getting them out of the pumpkin.

  • Remove pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin, wipe them off with a paper towel, spread them onto a paper bag and let them dry overnight.
  • Place pumpkin seeds in a single layer onto a cookie sheet and light roast them at 160-170ºF for 15-20 minutes.
  • Roasting them for a short time at a low temperature helps preserve the healthy oils.
Roasting is also a healthier way to cook the pumpkin seeds than roasting in oil.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation. October 2008. Pumpkin Seeds. The Kicker.

Image: Pumpkin Seeds by The Campbells. Creative Commons License.

Pepitas on Amazon

Bergin Nut Company Pepitas Raw, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)
Bergin Nut Company Pepitas Raw, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)

From the Bergin Nut Company a package of 4, 16-Ounce Bags of raw Pepitas.

 

Fun Books about Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds

Order Pumpkin Seeds from Amazon

Some of the healthy choices for pumpkin seeds.

Did you know that pumpkins were do good for you?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Comments about Pumpkin Nutrition

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    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @TapIn2U: Enjoy your soup. Mix in some sweet potato too. Thanks for the reminder to fix some.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 3 years ago

      Definitely serving that pumpkin soup this Halloween! Thanks for the great recipes. Very timely indeed! Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @AngryBaker: We enjoy roasted pumpkin seeds in the fall too.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      @GramaBarb: Thank you. Will be pumpkin season very soon.

    • profile image

      AngryBaker 5 years ago

      I do like to make pumpkin bread... and we roast pumpkin seeds..have to try more recipes

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 5 years ago from Vancouver

      I'm a big fan of the pumpkin! Great lens!

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 5 years ago

      What a great idea for a lens. Loved the quiz although I didn't do to well. i need to learn more about pumpkins. :)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 6 years ago from California

      I see there's another fan of the pumpkin out there. Great lens!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 6 years ago

      Lovely page all about Pumpkins with so much valuable information too!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

      I love pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. I knew they were good for us, but now I know a lot more. I am a bit leery, but I think I will try the pumpkin smoothie. This is a fantastic lens. Thanks for pulling it all together.

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 6 years ago from UK

      Very interesting lens. With all these health benefits I think I will be adding pumpkins and seeds to my shopping list! Will be trying the Pumpkin smoothy for sure:)

    • desilegend profile image

      desilegend 6 years ago

      On Saturday I made delicious soup and pumpkin pancakes... Yummy! Plus mashed for my baby... Wonderful vegetable!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Super lens on pumpkin nutrition and recipes. Something to bookmark.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Great lens. Lensrolled to my Best-Ever EASY Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 6 years ago

      This is great, and surprisingly I got 100% on the quiz. I am definitely trying that Pumpkin Soup recipe. Looks so yummy.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 6 years ago

      I remember learning that pumpkin seeds helped rid the body of certain parasites many years ago...raw ones were best for this...but as we see from this lens, there are so very many things pumpkins are good for. This is a wonderful lens, so completely full of valuable information.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Great lens. Very informative. Blessed by an Angel. This lens will be featured on my angel lens: "angel-on-assignment".

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      Great easy pumpkin soup! and I am glad I found out how great it is for you, now to talk my daughter into it!

    • Bus Stop Toy Shop profile image

      Bus Stop Toy Shop 6 years ago

      Always knew that Pumpkin seeds were good for you, but had no idea that the whole pumpkin was so versatile. In the UK, we tend to only see them on shelves at Halloween.