Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin seed oil, also known as pepita oil, is hauled out of pumpkin (scientific name Cucurbita maxima) seeds. Pumpkin seed oil has an orange-red color and is in a solid state at room temperature. This alternative vegetable oil is sold as a cooking oil as well as health supplement.

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The flavour of pumpkin seed oil is rich as well as nutty and this oil is an effective source of antioxidants, beneficial fatty acids and DHT blocking compounds like delta-7-sterine and beta-sitosterol.

Often pumpkin seed oil or pepita oil is made use of in salad and vegetable dressings. At times this oil is also added to certain recipes with a view to enhance the taste of meats because the nutty flavour of pumpkin seed oil imparts an excellent essence. Diners in Europe are also known to pour pumpkin seed oil over yogurt or ice cream. However, this oil is not recommended for cooking because some of the health benefits offered by this oil owing to the presence of healthy fatty acids are robbed even when it is used in cooking at low temperatures. In fact, the seeds of pumpkin are edible and are available in the market as snack food.

Pumpkin seed oil is loaded with several essential nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids and zinc. Zinc is an essential nutrient, especially for older people, as it helps in maintaining bone density. The abundance of zinc in pumpkin seed oil may also be beneficial for the prostate health of men, while helping in reducing irritation in the bladder in women.

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In Europe, there is a tradition wherein people use pumpkin seed oil for curing several ailments. In Germany, people use this alternative vegetable oil to get rid of tapeworms from the body. In fact, for several years, many people believed that pumpkin seed oil or pepita oil possessed properties that could help treat a wide range of ailments from kidney stones to even impotence. However, there is little scientific evidence that supports these therapeutic properties of this oil. In fact, studies need to be undertaken to ascertain the effectiveness of pumpkin seed oil in folk medicine to treat the above mentioned health conditions. However, there is evidence that use of pumpkin oil helps to lessen the hardening of the arteries and also regulate and maintain healthy levels of cholesterol.

Health benefits

When people start losing their hair, it is a definite sign that they are aging. However, when some people become bald at a young age, using pumpkin seed oil can help to significantly promote hair growth. In fact, a number of studies have suggested that regular use of this oil is good for the health of your hair.

Pumpkin seed oil (also known as pepita oil) is among the oils that having the maximum consolidation of polyunsaturated fats found in any food source. Although fats are said to be harmful for our health, our body actually needs specific amounts of beneficial fats to function properly. Pumpkin seed oil contains linoleic acid and oleic acid which can help to lower the blood pressure and, at the same time, maintain a healthy balance of the cholesterols in the body.

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There are many reasons why one can have diabetes. One of the reasons for developing this condition is poor diet. However, type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes is not only manageable, but also treatable by adopting healthy diet strategies and taking necessary supplements. Findings of studies have revealed that oil extracted from ungerminated seeds, fruit pulp and protein obtained from germinated pumpkin seeds can all help to lower the blood sugar levels. As a result, pumpkin seed oil is an excellent addition to any diet plan for diabetics.

It has been established that pumpkin seed oil encloses phytoesterols - structurally which are akin to the cholesterol in our body. Phytoesterols and cholesterol compete with each other for being absorbed into our digestive system. When the digestive system absorbs phytoesterols it blocks the absorption of cholesterol, thereby lowering the levels of cholesterol in our body.

A pilot study involving 35 women, all in menopausal stage, found that the high density lipo-protein (HDL) or "good cholesterol" increased significantly in women who consumed pumpkin seed oil instead of wheat germ oil. In addition using pumpkin seed oil also helped to lower the diastolic blood pressure and reduced the symptoms associated with menopause - like headaches, hot flashes and joint pain.

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Studies have also linked taking pumpkin seed oil with enhance health of prostate in men and respite from overactive bladder in women.

Findings of a research carried in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine discovered that when the participants in the study took pumpkin seed oil in an extract form for 12 weeks, they experienced significant relief from the symptoms associated with overactive bladder.

Moreover, while comparing pumpkin seed oil with saw palmetto oil in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), scientists found that individually both oils were effectual in enhancing the rate of maximal urinary flow. However, when taken together, saw palmetto oil and pumpkin seed oil worked to lower the levels of serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

As men grow older, the prostate gets enlarged and it can sometimes make urination difficult or painful. What is worse, it increases such people’s risks of developing prostate cancer. However, research involving pumpkin seed oil has found that it possesses the ability to enhance the flow of urine and, at the same time, lessen the inflammation associated with prostate considerably. Hence, use of pumpkin seed oil helps to protect men from one of the most deathly types of cancer.

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Moreover, the extract of pumpkin seed may also be useful in reducing the chances of developing colon cancer.

Chemical analysis of pumpkin seed extract (oil) has revealed that it also contains flavones and lignans, which are known to have a positive effect on tumours that are dependent on hormones. Hence, studies have suggested that both pumpkin seeds as well as their extracts have the potential to play a vital role in preventing and also treating breast cancer.

Consumption of pumpkin seed oil on a regular basis supports your joints and these days taking capsules containing pumpkin seed extract in the form of a supplement is very popular, especially for treating arthritic pain.

Pumpkin seed oil contains elevated levels of fatty acids, antioxidants and various other compounds that are often said to help in reducing inflammation in the joints of people suffering from arthritis.

Pumpkin seed oil is also very rich in fatty which possess potent antioxidant properties. It is said that applying pumpkin seed oil topically helps to reduce inflammation of the skin, protect us against infections as well as oxidative stress in the skin cells, stimulate new skin cell growth and also reduce the appearance of age-related blemishes and wrinkles. In addition, pumpkin seed oil is loaded with vitamin E. This vitamin has a potent effect on the appearance as well as the texture of the skin.

Pumpkin seed oil or pepita oil helps to promote blood circulation. This alternative vegetable oil possesses anti-coagulant properties, which helps to promote blood circulation as it gets rid of sluggish blood, thereby lowering the risks of blood clots. At the same time, it helps to supply more oxygen to the organs that help in boosting the functioning of the organs.

Anecdotal evidence has shown that consumption of pumpkin seed extract on a regular basis helps to ease depression, thereby boosting one's mood. This is attributed to pumpkin seed oil's ability to lower the stress hormone levels in the body. To enjoy this benefit of pumpkin seed oil, it is recommended that you take small quantities of this oil. Alternatively, you may also apply this oil topically to your chest, neck, and temples.

Menstruating women as well as women who are in the menopausal phase are recommended to take pumpkin seed oil because this alternative vegetable oil is helpful in reducing the symptoms associated with both menstruation and menopause. This oil helps in lessening incidences of hot flashes and also in diminishing severe cramps associated with menstruation. This is mainly attributed to the phytoesterols and phytoestrogens present in pumpkin seed oil.

Pumpkin seed oil contains abundance of omega-6 fatty acids, which are said to support the health of our bones. Compared to other minerals and vitamins that are necessary to prevent conditions like osteoporosis and ensure that our bones maintain a healthy mineral density as we grow older, it is also essential to intake sufficient amounts of omega-6 fatty acids to avoid osteoporosis.

Pumpkin seed oil offers us several other health benefits. For instance, the extract from pumpkin seed also has the potential to help treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This vegetable oil contains rich amounts of fatty acids which are said to decrease inflammation in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Many people who have been taking pumpkin seed oil on a regular basis have reported that they have experienced fewer symptoms associated with this condition.

Other benefits of taking pumpkin seed oil includes protection from parasitic worms. Traditionally, pumpkin seed oil has been used for treating intestinal parasites. This alternative vegetable oil possesses the unique property to paralyze the parasitic worms in our digestive system. To avail this benefit of pumpkin seed oil you need to take one teaspoon of this oil on an empty stomach. Ideally, this oil should be taken as the first thing you do early in the morning.

It is important to note that although pumpkin seed oil paralyzes the parasitic worms in the gastric tract, this action is temporary. In order to get rid of these parasitic worms completely, you need to follow up taking pumpkin seed oil by taking any effective laxative like castor oil within an hour. Doing this help to expel the worms through your bowel movement. In case, there is no bowel movement, these parasitic worms will recover.

Generally, it is recommended that you continue this method of treatment for some days taking several days break in between. After the break, repeat this course for another few weeks. This way, your gastrointestinal tract will soon be completely free of all parasitic worms.

Side effects and cautions

While pumpkin seed oil offers a number of health benefits, its use may also result in some side effects such as skin inflammation, gastrointestinal distress and even heart disease. However, very few such side effects of using pumpkin seed oil are reported.

If pumpkin seed oil is used in right amounts or in a diluted form, its use is generally safe and will not cause any toxicity.

If you want to use pumpkin seed oil internally, ensure that you do not use this oil in excess of two teaspoons (800mg) in a day. This will help you to get the full health benefits of this alternative vegetable oil. Majority of the people using pumpkin seed oil internally find that consuming just one teaspoon daily is more than enough.

Pumpkin seed oil or pepita oil is an extremely powerful and potent substance that can cause noteworthy consequences on the body. These effects can now and then manifest in the form of redness, irritation or swelling of the skin. People whose skin is sensitive should ideally apply only a small quantity of pumpkin seed oil to their skin and wait for a couple of hours to see if they have any reaction. Only if there is no adverse reaction, they can use the oil safely.

As is the case with any concentrated oil obtained from herbs or any other plant, if one has allergic reactions after using pumpkin seed oil it is advisable that he/she should keep away from using it. This is because using pumpkin seed oil may result in everything ranging from swollen lips and topical dermatitis to more critical stomach-related problems and vomiting in people with sensitive skin.

Pumpkin seed oil contains polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants that can be helpful in lowering blood pressure, thereby preventing heart disease. In other words, use of this oil can promote the health of your heart. On the other hand, using pumpkin seed oil may result in precariously low blood pressure if one is already taking medications to treat hypertension. Hence, it is advisable that such people should check with their physician before using pumpkin seed oil.

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