Wednesday Wonders: Pumpkin Seeds

September 30, 2009

Q: Nutritionally, is there a difference between eating pumpkin seeds and/or taking pumpkin seed oil? I take this to keep uric acid down and prevent gout.  – Glenn

A: Hi Glenn,

I have never heard of a link between pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil and uric acid, nor has there been any research that I could find showing a connection between the two. That being said, pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are very good for you.

Pumpkin seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack, added to salads, oatmeal, and granola, or even added to baked goods in place of other nuts and seeds. They are a good source of protein, healthy polyunsaturated fats including omega-3 fatty acids, the antioxidants vitamins A and E, and the following minerals: iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper. They also contain phytosterols, compounds similar to cholesterol, that help lower blood cholesterol levels. When roasting the seeds you want to be careful to avoid excessive heat, which will destroy their nutritional value.

As with other nuts and seeds, you need to be mindful of the portion size of pumpkin seeds. Stick to a 2 tablespoon portion, which will provide you with 100 calories, 8 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated, 2.5 grams monounsaturated, 3.5 grams polyunsaturated), 2.5 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams fiber, and 5 grams protein. Enjoy the seeds with a piece of fruit and you’ll have a filling snack!

As for pumpkin seed oil, it contains similar nutritional benefits, including vitamins A and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Although there is no link to it’s prevention of gout, there have been some studies that have shown that pumpkin seed oil helps treat enlarged prostate, but the jury is still out on this benefit. The oil can be used for salad dressings or any other room temperature or cold preparations, but should not be used for cooking, which will destroy it’s fatty acids.

Bottom Line: Pumpkin seeds are a healthy source of vital nutrients, but there is no evidence that shows the connection of the seeds or their oil to uric acid levels and gout.

Keep on sending your Nutritioulicious questions to me at 

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  1. How do you or what at what temperature can you roast pumpkin seeds with losing any nutritional value, especially zinc. Thanks Peter