Is Pumpkin Seed Good For Diabetes (9 Benefits & Risks)

Munching on pumpkin seeds may be a great way to relieve stress while giving your body a boost of zinc, but are they good for diabetes?

This article teaches about the seven possible benefits and risks of eating pumpkin seeds for diabetes.

Are Pumpkin Seeds Good for Diabetes?

According to recent medical research, pumpkin seeds are highly beneficial for diabetes management.

Trigonelline, a compound found in them, has anti-diabetic benefits that rival some prescription drugs, according to a study published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in 2009.

The researchers concluded that pumpkin seeds help manage type 2 diabetes because they have lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance.

In addition, pumpkin seeds are a source of zinc, which has improved insulin sensitivity in diabetic mice studies.

Zinc is an important mineral that serves as a cofactor in several enzymes involved in the metabolism and processing of carbohydrates, which may help your body better regulate blood sugar levels.

The study published in PLOS One has found that they can help reduce fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating 1 ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds per day may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels.

The same study found that these seeds are rich in phytosterols like beta-sitosterol, which is known to help reduce blood sugar levels.

Are pumpkin seeds low glycemic?

Yes, pumpkin seeds are a low glycemic food, which means they do not significantly raise your blood sugar levels.

Pumpkin seeds have a glycemic index score of 12, making them an ideal snack for people with diabetes.

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Eating them regularly can increase satiety and help with weight loss in diabetics.

9 Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds

Benefit #1: Pumpkin seeds are rich in Antioxidants

According to the USDA, pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and selenium. These antioxidants help protect against cell damage by free radicals and improve the function of blood vessels.

Pumpkin seed is a good source of magnesium, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, promoting cardiovascular health and ensuring proper nerve function.

Benefit #2: Pumpkin seed may reduce prostate cancer risk in men

Free radical damage is suspected to play a role in developing prostate cancer. Antioxidants like vitamin E found in pumpkin seeds may help prevent this damage.

A 2014 study by the University of Michigan Health System found that eating pumpkin seeds significantly reduced the risk of prostate cancer in men, while another one showed that consuming them regularly for three months could help improve symptoms.

Other cancers like breast and colon cancer may also be prevented by consuming these seeds regularly.

Benefit #3: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of plant-based protein

Pumpkin seeds are good sources of plant-based protein. In fact, 28 grams (1 ounce) of them can give you about 12% – 17% of your daily value for protein.

Proteins are essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, which is why people with type 2 diabetes often struggle with muscle loss.

Benefit #4: Pumpkin seed can prevent gallstones in women

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, pumpkin seed oil was effective against gallstone prevention.

The study involved 360 women between 18 and 40 years of age affected by biliary tract disease. The women were given either pumpkin seed oil or a placebo for six months.

It was found that there were fewer incidences of gallstones in the group receiving pumpkin seed oil when compared to the placebo group.

Benefit #5: Pumpkin seeds can help lower blood pressure levels in people with hypertension

Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, which help lower blood pressure levels. According to research, these seeds may increase the breakdown of cholesterol in your digestive tract, and this may prevent it from being absorbed into your system and lead to high blood pressure.

They are also rich in magnesium, potassium, arginine, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which help lower blood pressure levels and prevent complications like heart disease and stroke.

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Benefit #6: Pumpkin seed can increase satiety and aid in weight loss

Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote weight loss by reducing cholesterol levels.

According to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids increase the feeling of fullness and significantly reduce calories.

They also contain carotenoids and phytosterols like beta-sitosterol, which can help reduce calorie uptake by inhibiting fat absorption in your digestive system. Pumpkin seeds may promote weight loss and prevent weight gain when used as part of a healthy weight loss diet.

Benefit #7: Pumpkin seed may help improve bone health

Pumpkin seeds are rich in minerals like manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.

According to research published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they can help increase bone mineral content. They also contain 18 amino acids that are necessary for maintaining healthy bones.

The vitamin E content in it can help reduce inflammation and swelling, which may give you relief from the pain of osteoarthritis.

The pumpkin seed oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties beneficial for people with arthritis.

Benefit #8: Improves Sleep Quality

Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that plays a key role in sleep regulation.

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that tryptophan increases serotonin production and melatonin secretion. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can help improve mood and reduce anxiety, while melatonin is a hormone needed to regulate your sleep cycle.

Proper melatonin and serotonin production can induce better, more restful sleep.

They are high in zinc, which has been shown to improve sleep quality. Low zinc levels have been linked to insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns, and daytime fatigue.

Benefit #9: Increase sperm count and quality

Zinc deficiency has been linked to a lower sperm count and low testosterone levels.

Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of zinc, which is necessary for male sexual health, and they can significantly improve sperm quality, quantity, and motility.

Zinc may also help improve blood flow, leading to stronger erections and better orgasms.

According to research published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, pumpkin seed oil has increased sperm count and motility in infertile men.

Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called L-arginine, which boosts nitric oxide levels and increases blood flow to the penis. Nitric oxide helps relax and widen blood vessels, enabling you to achieve and maintain an erection.

What are the side effects of pumpkin seeds?

What are the side effects of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds may cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to the l-tryptophan content present in them, and they may also trigger asthma attacks in such individuals.

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When taken in excess, they can lead to gastrointestinal distress and bloating. Pumpkin seed oil supplements can cause constipation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in some individuals.

Who should not eat pumpkin seeds?

  • People who are allergic to l-tryptophan or sesame proteins should also avoid eating pumpkin seeds.
  • Pumpkin seeds may worsen GERD in people who are sensitive to dietary fiber.

How much pumpkin seeds should I eat per day?

According to American Diabetic Association, pumpkin seed can be eaten in moderation. Thirty grams (quarter cup) is the recommended daily serving size.

However, if you are experiencing gastrointestinal problems after eating pumpkin seeds, it is best to cut down on your consumption or avoid them altogether.

Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition Facts

Pumpkin seeds are rich in several nutrients. Just one ounce (28g) of it contains:

  • 5g total fat (1g saturated, 3.5g monounsaturated, and 0.5g polyunsaturated)
  • 1mg vitamin K (15% DV) and Vitamin A
  • 3mg magnesium (1% DV)
  • 270mg potassium (8% DV)
  • 15.2g total carbs (with 5.2g dietary fiber)
  • 5.3g protein (12% DV)
  • phosphorous
  • zinc
  • copper

How to add Pumpkin Seeds to Diabetic Diet

  • The best way is to eat them raw if you like them that way
  • You can include pumpkin seed oil in your salad dressing or drizzle some on top of vegetables and salads
  • Use roasted and salted pumpkin seeds as a snack or garnish
  • You can also make a delicious trail mix with nuts, muesli, dried fruit, and pumpkin seeds
  • They are also available in the form of flour or protein powder. You can make your smoothie using these products or sprinkle them over your breakfast cereal
  • Smoothies are an excellent way to add these seeds into your diet. Blend some canned or fresh pumpkin, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, milk, yogurt or almond milk, protein powder, and ice in a blender until smooth. You can also use crushed roasted pumpkin seeds over the top when you are done.

The Bottom Line

If you’re struggling with diabetes and looking for ways to manage your blood glucose levels, pumpkin seed may be a great snack choice. The health benefits of these seeds are abundant, including improving heart health, regulating blood sugars, boosting sperm quality, and even helping improve sleep.

Which is your favorite diabetic snack? Please do share in the comments.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22082068

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25749679/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31337059/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229914000028

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1744388119304864

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/best-sources-protein

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11457

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/377709/nutrients

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijhy/2012/754250/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejlt.200390055

Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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