In addition to being an incredibly versatile ingredient, pumpkin seed oil boasts a rich flavor and vibrant red-orange hue.
Plus, it has been associated with a long list of benefits and can be a great addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet.
This article takes an in-depth look at the potential health benefits and downsides of pumpkin seed oil, along with how you can add it to your diet.
What is pumpkin seed oil?
Also sometimes referred to as pepita oil, pumpkin seed oil is an oil thatâ€™s extracted from the seeds of pumpkins.
Itâ€™s widely used as a cooking oil and has a unique, nutty flavor that works well in a range of delicious recipes.
Itâ€™s also sold as a supplement in convenient, easy-to-use capsules and can even be found in many hair masks and serums.
Additionally, it has been associated with an array of impressive health benefits and contains various important nutrients.
Pumpkin seed oil is an oil derived from pumpkin seeds. Itâ€™s often used in cooking, taken as a supplement, or applied to the hair.
Pumpkin seed oil nutrition
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in heart-healthy fats.
In fact, a 1-tablespoon (15-mL) serving of pumpkin seed oil provides 14 grams of fat, most of which are from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (1).
Pumpkin seed oil is particularly rich in linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid that may be associated with improved heart health and blood sugar management (2, 3, 4).
Additionally, pumpkin seed oil contains high amounts of antioxidant compounds, including polyphenols and carotenoids, which may help protect against inflammation and chronic disease (2, 3, 5).
Pumpkin seed oil is a good source of antioxidants and heart-healthy fats like linoleic acid.
Benefits of pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seed oil has been linked to several potential health benefits.
May support urinary tract health
Pumpkin seed oil supplements are often used to promote prostate health.
They seem to be especially useful for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition characterized by the enlargement of the prostate gland, which can block the flow of urine (6).
According to one older study in 47 men with BPH, taking 320 mg of pumpkin seed oil daily for 12 months reduced symptoms, improved quality of life, and increased urinary flow (7).
Some research suggests that pumpkin seed oil could also help treat other urinary tract issues.
For instance, one study in 45 people showed that consuming 10 grams of pumpkin seed oil daily for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of overactive bladder (8).
Improves heart health
Several studies have found that pumpkin seed oil could be beneficial for heart health.
In one small study in postmenopausal women, taking 3 grams of pumpkin seed oil daily led to significant improvements in blood vessel stiffness and function, which may help prevent high blood pressure (9).
Another 2011 study showed that supplementing with pumpkin seed oil increased HDL (good) cholesterol in 35 postmenopausal women (10).
Some older animal studies have observed similar findings, reporting that pumpkin seed oil may help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels while also improving blood pressure (11, 12).
However, more high quality studies in humans are needed to determine how pumpkin seed oil may affect heart health among the general population.
Could enhance hair growth
Pumpkin seed oil is sometimes used as a supplement or applied topically to support healthy hair growth.
In one study, 76 men with hair loss took 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil or a placebo per day for 24 weeks.
At the end of the study, those who took pumpkin seed oil reported higher scores in hair loss improvements and had four times more hair growth than those in the control group (13).
Another small study found that pumpkin seed oil could also increase hair growth for women with hair loss when applied topically over a period of 3 months (14).
Similarly, one animal study showed that applying pumpkin seed oil topically increased hair growth in mice after 3 weeks (15).
Research suggests that pumpkin seed oil could help improve urinary tract health, enhance heart health, and increase hair growth.
Potential downsides of pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seed oil is generally considered safe and associated with very few side effects when used in moderation (16).
Although very rare, some people may be allergic to pumpkin seed oil and experience adverse symptoms after consuming the oil or applying it to the skin (17).
If you notice any negative symptoms after using pumpkin seed oil, you should discontinue use immediately and talk with your doctor.
You should also consult a healthcare provider before using pumpkin seed oil as a supplement, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
Pumpkin seed oil is generally considered safe but may cause an allergic reaction in some people. You should talk with your doctor before using pumpkin seed oil as a supplement.
How to use it
Pumpkin seed oil has a rich, nutty taste and is often used as a cooking oil.
It works especially well as a component of salad dressings and marinades or when used as a finishing oil and drizzled over cooked dishes.
However, because it has a lower smoke point than other types of cooking oil, it may not be the best choice for recipes that require frying or sautÃ©ing.
Pumpkin seed oil is also widely available as a supplement and can be purchased from many online retailers and natural health stores.
Although thereâ€™s currently no official recommended dosage for pumpkin seed oil, most products provide 1,000â€“2,000 mg per serving.
Itâ€™s also found in some hair products, which typically advise you to apply it to your scalp a few times per month.
To make your own hair mask at home, try mixing 1â€“2 tablespoons (15â€“30 mL) of pumpkin seed oil with an equal amount of coconut oil and massage it into your scalp.
Leave it on for at least 20â€“30 minutes or overnight before washing it out with shampoo and conditioner.
Pumpkin seed oil can be used in many recipes or taken as a supplement. You can also try making your own hair mask at home by combining pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil and applying it to your scalp.
The bottom line
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in heart-healthy fats and antioxidants.
Animal and human studies have shown it can improve heart health, increase hair growth, and support urinary tract health.
Itâ€™s also very versatile and can be used as cooking oil, taken as a supplement, or combined with other oils and applied to the scalp.
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