(NaturalNews) Pumpkins are a form of Native American squash and are welcome both as a decorative and edible item in autumn season festivities. While most people associate pumpkins with Halloween, fall festivals, and American Thanksgiving desserts, both pumpkins and pumpkin seed oil pack a serious health- boosting punch.
Pumpkins and pumpkin seed oil have alkaloids, flavonoids, and three different essential fatty acids. Not only is pumpkin full of antioxidants, the autumn squash has anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-diabetic properties, as well.
Pumpkins show promise for diabetes
The Daily Telegraph, a London news source, quoted research performed by East China Normal University in 2007, which found that pumpkin successfully promoted the regeneration of damaged pancreas cells in diabetic rats. This led to a boost in insulin levels in the rats' blood. Scientists conducting the study believe that pumpkin extract may be beneficial to either pre-diabetic or fully diabetic humans.
In 2009, a Japanese team of scientists compared pumpkin paste to a control group of laboratory rats with Type 2 diabetes in an oral glucose tolerance test. Pumpkin paste was considered to be effective in improving glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
Pumpkin seed oil shrinks enlarged prostates in rats
Pumpkin seed oil is produced from raw or roasted pumpkin seeds. It offers a robust, nutty flavor that blends well in salad dressings. It is high in essential fatty acids, such as oleic and alpha-linoleic acids.
Urology International published a 2006 study which investigated the effects of pumpkin seed oil on male rats with enlarged prostate glands. This controlled study showed that rats treated with pumpkin seed oil alone or in combination with another solution had a significantly lower weight ratio for their prostates as well as lower protein levels. This means that pumpkin seed oil was able to "shrink" enlarged prostate glands in male rats.
Pumpkin reduces inflammation, blood glucose, and fights cancer
One cup of raw, cubed pumpkin contains 30 calories, no fat, one mg of sodium, eight grams of carbohydrates and one gram of protein. Pumpkin's inflammation factor is 65, making it mildly anti-inflammatory. Its glycemic load is three, making pumpkin a wonderful food choice for diabetics. One cup of raw pumpkin offers 8567 IU of the anti-oxidant vitamin A, which is 171 percent above the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A as established by the USDA.
Pumpkin seed oil promotes brain, skin, prostate, and hair health
Raw pumpkin seed oil contains healthy omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, phytosterols, and vitamins E and K. The linoleic acid contained in pumpkin seed oil promotes healthy brain function as well as skin suppleness. The oleic acid in pumpkin seed oil lowers "bad" cholesterol, which promotes heart and liver health.
Raw, cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil is high in the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidants, vitamins E and A, as well as vitamin K, which helps to regulate the metabolism of calcium. The steroid delta-7 sterine found in pumpkin seed oil may be the element in pumpkin seed oil that blocks DHT, which is a factor in both prostate enlargement and hair loss in men.
Pumpkin seed oil is also a good source of beta-sitosterol, which also inhibits the enzyme which converts testosterone to DHT. The recommended dosage for health benefits is one teaspoon of raw pumpkin seed oil three times a day.
Daily Telegraph.com, "Pumpkin May Cut Injections for Diabetes". Daily Telegraph (London, UK: Telegraph Group). 9 July 2007. http://www.telegraph.co.uk