Pumpkin seed oil is a very particular and little known vegetable oil. Let’s see its properties and applications.
Pumpkin seed oil is obtained by cold pressing the seeds of the pumpkin plant. It is little known since it is not widely used due to the Mediterranean type food culture that prefers olive oil, but it is well known in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Romania. In these countries it is a traditional specialty, so much so that it is protected by the European Union with the IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) mark.
Pumpkin seed oil: calories and nutritional properties
Pumpkin seed oil has a rather dark color and a fairly mild flavor and is known for its beneficial properties. Being a seasoning oil, its calorific value is high, in fact it provides about 800 kcal per 100 grams and naturally consists mostly of fats, which are mostly unsaturated, including oleic and linoleic acids, therefore of the omega type 6.
It also has a good content of vitamin E and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, partially preserving the characteristics of the seeds from which it derives.
Nutritional values per 100g of pumpkin seed oil:
- Kcal: 800
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Total fat: 93.3 g
- Saturated fatty acids: 20 g
- Monounsaturated fatty acids: 33.3 g
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 40 g
- Proteins: 0 g
- Fibers: 0 g
- Waterfall: 0 g
- Iron: 1.6 mg
- Soccer: 1.3 mg
- Sodium: 0.8 mg
- Potassium: 2.2 mg
- Magnesium: 3.5 mg
- Zinc: 0.3 mg
Pumpkin seed oil: the health benefits
The benefits of pumpkin seed oil are numerous, in particular for the cardiovascular system with its lipid-lowering, hypoglycemic, antioxidant properties, but also for the skin and the gastrointestinal system. Let’s see specifically the properties of pumpkin seed oil.
Thanks to the antioxidant compounds and polyunsaturated fatty acids that this oil contains, it seems able to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, assisting the action of drugs, as shown by some studies conducted on laboratory guinea pigs.
✓ Useful against diabetes
The tocopherol present in pumpkin seeds, with its antioxidant activity, would be responsible for the positive effects that the seeds and the oil obtained from them exert on blood sugar and insulin levels. Pumpkin seed oil could therefore be helpful in controlling diabetes.
✓ Lowers blood pressure
Pumpkin seed oil appears to have antihypertensive effects, as shown by some studies conducted on postmenopausal women with arterial hypertension. Its consumption, therefore, could help in the management of this problem.
✓ Protective for the stomach
Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin, a terpene molecule with an antioxidant action, which seems to be able to protect the gastric mucosa, thus carrying out its protective and preventive role in the case of gastric ulcer.
Pumpkin seeds contain various classes of cucurbitacins, antioxidant molecules, which have been shown to be able to inhibit uncontrolled cell growth, and for this reason it is hypothesized that they may have anticancer effects on cell lines of different tissues (skin, prostate, breast). Phytosterols, plant hormones present in pumpkin seeds, also seem to play an important role in the prevention of breast and prostate cancers.
✓ Protects the liver
It seems that pumpkin oil is able to decrease the levels of blood parameters related to liver diseases.
✓ Healthy for the prostate
The zinc and phytosterols present in pumpkin seeds have been shown to be useful in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia as they have protective effects on the function of this gland. Even the oil is able to exert the same effects, inhibiting testosterone, the cause of cell proliferation of the prostate.
✓ Skin ally
Cucurbitine with its anti – inflammatory power, vitamin E and zinc present in pumpkin seed oil, make it an ally for the care and well-being of the skin, with a nourishing and soothing action. It also seems to be able to heal skin wounds thanks to the simultaneous action of the particular composition in fatty acids and antioxidant compounds.
The tocopherols, antioxidant compounds present in this product, together with the numerous polyunsaturated fatty acids, give pumpkin seed oil antioxidant properties, helping to counteract the action of free radicals and the consequent cellular aging.
✓ Useful in case of arthritis
The antioxidant compounds present in pumpkin seed oil are able to reduce inflammation in the case of arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
How to use pumpkin seed oil in cooking
Pumpkin seed oil has a very mild and pleasant flavor. The best way to exploit its nutritional and organoleptic characteristics is raw, both to season vegetable dishes and to flavor meat or fish main courses. In fact, it lends itself little to being used in cooking.
It is excellent for example raw on pumpkin soup or mashed potatoes and is recommended for marinades or carpaccio of meat and fish. It can also be used on bruschetta with vegetables.
Since its flavor does not change that of the other ingredients, it is also suitable for use in desserts, but possibly in cold preparations, such as biscuits that do not need cooking or homemade cereal bars.
Since it is an oil, the quantities must be those recommended for fatty condiments, so considering that in general you should consume about 30 grams of oil per day, you should stick to these quantities. Since our Mediterranean tradition provides for the consumption of excellent extra virgin olive oil, for example, pumpkin seed oil could be consumed occasionally in some preparations.
Pumpkin seed oil for skin and hair
Several scientific studies demonstrate the healing and nourishing properties of pumpkin seed oil. Due to its soothing properties due to the particular content in fatty acids, but also in vitamin E and anti-inflammatory agents, it can in fact be used for the treatment of eczema, burns (including those due to sun exposure) and skin redness.
Due to its healing properties it can be applied to small skin wounds or lesions due to insect bites. In addition, this oil also has emollient and elasticizing properties that make it an ingredient suitable for many anti-aging creams. Thanks to the presence of minerals, including zinc, and vitamin E, it can be used in purity as a massage oil, also to treat stretch marks on the skin of the whole body.
Pumpkin seed oil for topical use also finds application in the hair health sector: phytoestrogens, together with fatty acids and vitamin E, also seem to promote hair regrowth, as shown by some studies carried out on affected men. from alopecia. Simply applied in a pack on the hair before shampooing it hydrates and strengthens the hair.
Pumpkin seed oil: price and where to buy it
You can buy pumpkin seed oil at health food stores, health food stores, online, and sometimes in supermarkets. When buying it, it would be good to first make sure that it is an oil obtained by cold pressing, which therefore has not been subjected to chemical treatments, so that it retains all its beneficial nutritional characteristics and does not contain harmful chemicals due to the process of extraction.
You must also pay attention to the expiration date on the label, because, like all oils, it tends to deteriorate. For this reason it should also be bottled in dark glass bottles so that the light cannot damage it and once opened, it must be kept tightly closed in a cool place. A good pumpkin seed oil is not very cheap, its price can vary between 20 and 30 USD per liter.
How to make pumpkin seed oil at home
Since pumpkin seed oil is quite expensive, if we use it for occasional consumption, a good idea would be to prepare it at home. Homemade pumpkin seed oil could be quite a challenge, as it is quite a laborious process.
First you will need to extract the seeds from the pumpkins. We take into account that to prepare a liter of oil it will take about 3 kg of seeds.
The process is quite long because it would involve blending or chopping the seeds, cooking and filtering the dough, but the heat could deteriorate it, so it would be much better to have an oil extractor, which is a sort of press capable of separating mechanically and low temperatures the oil from the seeds. In fact, it will be enough to insert the seeds in the extractor, which will separate the oil from the fiber and other components of the seed.
Contraindications of pumpkin seed oil
Unless individual allergies or intolerances, pumpkin seed oil has no particular contraindications. However, it must be considered that it is still a condiment oil and therefore has a fairly high caloric value and fat content, so it is not recommended in any case an exaggerated use and especially those who have overweight problems or follow particular regimes. food due to diagnosed diseases, you should seek advice from your doctor before undertaking constant use.