Pumpkins have been around for hundreds of years. The fruit enjoyed the attention, initially, as Jack-o’-lanterns and lately for the wide variety of recipes that it offers to your dinner and snack menu.
But it’s time you moved over the roasted seeds for a snack or the ever-so-popular pumpkin spice latte because the spotlight is now on the pumpkin seed oil!
Pumpkin Seed Oil and The Treasure Within
A handful of pumpkin nuts have always been known to boost health when ingested regularly. But the extract of the pumpkin seeds is an equally abundant source of various important nutrients. While being rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C, D, E, and K, and Omega-3 and Omega-6, the oil is also rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, and several microelements. The unique combination of minerals and vitamins has a positive effect on multiple metabolic functions in the human body.
The treasure trove of nutrients promotes heart health, hair growth, mental health, and urinary and prostate health in men. It is also beneficial for fitness seekers trying to lose weight. The blend of fiber, protein and unsaturated fatty acids supports healthy weight loss, thus helping individuals achieve their fitness goals.
No wonder then that so many health supplements on the shelves come with varying doses of pumpkin seed oil. While the pumpkin seed extract positively impacts several bodily functions, its pronounced effect in treating urinary disorders of the bladder and the prostate gland is especially noteworthy.
Pumpkin Seed Oil and Urinary Health Disorders
The prevalence of urinary health disorders, more commonly known as bladder problems, affects 33 million Americans. Bladder leakage, urinary incontinence, or an involuntary loss of urine is a problem numerous adults live with every day. While it can affect people of all ages and genders, it is more common among the elderly.
The disorder has a marked effect on the overall quality of life and affects multiple aspects of it. For instance, seniors with urinary incontinence are at a greater risk of bone fracture and mortality caused by it. The health condition can be emotionally and psychologically demanding too. People suffering from the problem may not participate in normal daily activities for the fear of being too far from the toilet, thus alienating themselves and suffering in silence.
Causes and Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
The underlying cause of the disorder is related to several health conditions. These are:
High blood pressure
Bladder obstruction, inflammation, or other problems that affect bladder capacity
Restless leg syndrome
Edema in legs
Reduced bladder capacity
While a natural/herbal treatment may not be possible for each of these health conditions, there is certainly one for an overactive bladder or an enlarged prostate. Scientific research suggests the usefulness of pumpkin seed extract in treating urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
An overactive bladder is suggestive of lower urinary tract dysfunction in patients suffering from nocturia.
Several studies have confirmed the usefulness of pumpkin seed oil in the management and treatment of urinary disorders caused by an overactive bladder.
What Research Says about Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil for Bladder Health
While a wide variety of pumpkins are grown across the world, not all the varieties have been studied for their efficacy against urinary disorders.
However, pumpkin seed oil extracted from the variety Cucurbita pepo (C.pepo) is found to be highly effective in the management and treatment of urinary disorders.
Its efficacy was established in a clinical trial involving more than 2000 men suffering from benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH). The study found that regular ingestion of the oil had a significant impact on urinary disorder.
More recently, Japanese researchers found another variety of pumpkin to be useful for the purpose. The oil from the seeds of C.maxima was found to reduce incontinence by 79%, with a decrease in daytime incontinence by 39% and nighttime urination down by 68%.
What Makes Pumpkin Seed Oil So Effective Against an Overactive Bladder?
While scientists are yet to conclude the exact connection, but a likely possibility for the effectiveness of the seed extract against an overactive bladder could be its high arginine content.
Arginine is an amino acid associated with the production of nitric oxide (NO). NO is responsible for creating a relaxing effect on arteries and muscles. The presence of NO when the bladder is full ensures muscle relaxation and allows urination. However, under a low concentration of NO the bladder becomes hyperactive, resulting in frequent urination.
Who could have imagined that the hundreds of pumpkin seeds that we tossed away on Halloween could help someone suffering from urinary incontinence? But now that we know the nutraceutical value of this seed extract, maybe we can suggest ways to include more of this oil in one's life.
Welcome the Goodness of Pumpkin Seed Oil in Your Diet
While most people prefer to consume the seed extract in a pill form for its ease of use, there are many ways you can include this nutty oil in your diet. Here are just a few of them you can start experimenting with:
As a Topping
Both pumpkin seeds, as well as the oil, make for a great salad dressing. You can also sprinkle some of the nut oil on ice creams to give it a nutty, earthy flavor. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some of it on the soups or toasted bread and enjoy the rush of earthy flavors.
As a Spread
Next time you make that pesto sauce, don't forget to chop the herbs and seeds and blend them in pumpkin seed oil with a dash of pepper and salt. Not only will you enjoy the rich flavors, but you will also do a favor to your bladder health.
Pumpkin Seed- Rice Pudding
And those of you who want to include the nut oil in a bigger way in your meal can try the rice recipe. For this, take half a liter of milk and cook 125 grams of rice in it. Season it with honey or sugar, and add a generous serving of pumpkin seeds and a dash of seed oil to balance the flavors.
What should I Look for While Buying Pumpkin Seed Oil
While pumpkin seed oil makes for a versatile ingredient for a variety of recipes, always make sure that the oil you source comes from a trusted supplier. Also, make sure not to use the oil for sauteing, deep-frying or searing. The oil has a rather low smoke point and cannot withstand high temperatures. Instead enjoy the mild and nutty flavors by drizzling a few drops or a generous amount over cooked food, snacks, desserts and more.
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