The Potential Side Effects of Pumpkin Seeds

Parul Dube

June 1, 2023

Originally from South America, pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) now grows worldwide. Several pharma companies use their seeds and oil to make medicines.

The seed compounds can help reduce bladder and prostate discomfort by increasing urination. In addition, some chemicals may help to minimize prostate swelling. Additionally, people in various cultures also use these seeds as a culinary addition.

Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, protein, manganese, and zinc. They also contain free-radical scavenging antioxidants and phytosterols, which are plant chemicals. However, as with many good things, there is another side as well.

Read more: Pumpkin Seeds – Benefits, Nutrition, Precaution & Recipes

Unsupervised and excessive consumption of pumpkin seeds may have some adverse side effects. Let’s explore them in detail. 

Nutritional Values of Pumpkin Seeds

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a 100-gram  of unsalted pumpkin seeds contains

  • Energy: 446 kcal
  • Fat: 19g
  • Protein: 19g
  • Carbohydrate: 54g
  • Dietary fibre: 18g
  • Sodium: 18mg
  • Potassium: 919mg 
  • Calcium: 52mg
  • Iron: 8.07mg

8 Potential Side Effects of Pumpkin Seeds

 1. Harmful to People on Diuretics

Oedema is prevalent among people who have kidney problems or some cardiovascular issues. According to several case studies, these seeds have minor diuretic properties that could interact with diuretic medicines, resulting in more trips to the bathroom.

In addition, it could have an impact on your body’s mineral balance. So, if you’re on diuretics, avoid pumpkin seed consumption.

 2. Allergies

Although pumpkin seeds are not as allergenic as other seeds, they may lead to some allergic reactions. The most common target of these allergies is the skin. So, if you have a pumpkin seed allergy, here’s what you may expect:

  • Scaly, irritated, and red skin
  • Hives and itching
  • Rhinoconjunctivitis is a type of conjunctivitis that causes nasal congestion and sneezing.
  • Allergic Asthma
  • Breathing problems
  • Headache
  • Swelling and redness in the mouth
  • Throat irritation
  • Apnea
  • Coughing

 3. May Lead to Weight Gain

One hundred grams of pumpkin seeds contain 446 kCal calories and 19g of fats which can lead to weight gain. So it’s better to limit pumpkin seeds consumption to maintain a healthy weight. 

Obesity is the root cause of various health problems, including hypertension and diabetes. So, before adding seeds to your diet, talk to a nutritionist, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

4. Low Blood Pressure

Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients such as magnesium and beta carotene which may help in lowering blood pressure.

However, if you are taking hypertensive medications, it would be best to discuss this with a doctor before incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet.

Read more: Top 5 Foods for High Blood Pressure

 5. Pumpkin Seeds May Cause Stomach Ache

Eating large quantities of pumpkin seeds may lead to stomach-related issues, mainly stomach aches. It is because pumpkin seeds contain a high concentration of fatty acids that lead to stomach distress, cramps, and pain if consumed in excess.

To avoid this adverse effect, eat only a handful at a time or combine it with other foods.

 6. Drug Interaction

Pumpkin seeds contain anti-nutrients such as cyanide, tannin, and oxalates.  They are high in vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can worsen blood thinning in people who are already taking blood thinners and may cause severe bleeding. Thus, it is always recommended to consult your healthcare professional before including pumpkin seeds in your diet. 

 7. Pose a Severe Health Risk

Pumpkin seeds have a short shelf life due to the presence of fatty acids which can turn rancid and eating rotten pumpkin seeds puts our bodies at risk for various illnesses.

These illnesses may include heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases, to name a few. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, before eating pumpkin seeds, double-check that they are neither grassy nor greasy.

8. Other Side Effects

Pumpkin seeds are high in fibre. Therefore, eating them in excess might cause gas and bloat, and it can even cause constipation.

Pumpkin Seeds – Recommended Quantities

Pumpkin seeds are a healthy food that you can include in your daily routine or diet to reap the most benefits. The question now is, how many pumpkin seeds should you consume daily?

The average individual should consume about 30 grams per day. Anything above that can lead to adverse effects.

5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

1. Strengthens Bones

Magnesium is abundantly present in pumpkin seeds. As per studies, magnesium is beneficial for bone health. Its consumption increases mineral density inside bones and reduces the chances of bone fractures and osteoporosis. 

Magnesium deficiency increases inflammation in the body. It further affects bones by harming the cartilage. The cartilage wears down, which increases friction between joints. It causes soreness and pain near joints.

One hundred grams of pumpkin seeds has around 262 mg of magnesium which is sufficient to meet 65%of your daily magnesium needs.

2. Pumpkin Seeds Provide Antioxidants

Carotenoids and vitamin E are antioxidants found in pumpkin seeds. As per studies, antioxidants can help decrease inflammation and safeguard the cells from free radical damage.

Free radicals cause the oxidation of cells that damages the different essential elements present in a cell. These include cell membranes, DNA and various proteins present in cells. As a result, eating foods high in antioxidants can serve to protect you from a range of diseases.

3. Improves Immunity

Pumpkin seeds contain vitamin E and zinc which are powerful antioxidants.

They are therefore beneficial to our immune system. Vitamin E boosts the body’s immunity and prevents a variety of infections.

Additionally, it’s also a potent antioxidant. It, therefore, protects the body from numerous chronic diseases like cancer and cardiac problems. In addition, it keeps the cells of the body healthy. Thus, this helps the body effectively fight harmful bacteria and viruses. 

As per research, zinc helps in protecting our bodies from inflammation, allergies, and dangerous pathogens. Inflammatory cells and cytokines are the initial responders sent out by the immune system.

These cells stimulate the body to restrict germs and other harmful substances or start healing wounded tissue. It further helps fight infections and boosts the body’s overall immune system. 

4. Good for Heart Health

Pumpkin seeds are high in unsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). As per research, ALA is beneficial for heart health.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. It helps in proper human development. By assisting in maintaining the correct heart rhythm and pumping, it prevents cardiovascular disease. It also helps to prevent blood clots. 

It also helps manage blood pressure because they are rich in magnesium.

5. Pumpkin Seeds Help Lose Weight

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and fibre. They are satiating and consequently make us eat less and consume fewer calories. As a result, it aids in the weight loss process. 

The fibre in pumpkin seeds improves the excretory system and helps the body eliminate unwanted materials and toxins. Moreover, The seeds are rich in critical fatty acids, which aid in the maintenance of healthy blood vessels while reducing harmful cholesterol present in the blood.

4 Ways to Consume Pumpkin Seeds

1. Sprinkle on the Salad

Pumpkin seeds are crisp and tasty, and you can add them to any salad. Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on a simple green salad or a chicken salad. It adds just the right amount of crunch and increases the dish’s nutritional value exponentially. Play around with pumpkin seeds in salads and keep varying the vegetables and proteins to get a healthy filler that will keep you satiated. 

2. Eat as a Snack

Roasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty snack. It is an excellent choice when you’re hungry in between meals. Pumpkin seeds are appetite suppressants and significantly lessen hunger pangs. One can consume pumpkin seeds as a snack, even on a diet. It’s a low-calorie, fat-free snack for those who want to lose weight.

3. Mix with Baked Products 

Including pumpkin seeds in your baking recipe is one of the best ways to consume them. You can use pumpkin seeds in various healthy baking recipes to add flavour and crunch, elevating the taste of your food. 

You can use pumpkin seeds in the following baking recipes:

  • Muffins 
  • Cakes
  • Bars made with nuts and seeds
  • Fruit bread like- banana bread
  • Trail mix

You may make a trail mix with either raw or roasted pumpkin seeds. Carry the trail mix with you everywhere in a zip lock pouch. It satisfies your hunger in the healthiest way possible. Simply combine pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, roasted almonds, and dried cranberries in a bowl. 

4. Add on with Meals

You can make pumpkin seeds mix add on to some of your meals. For example, make a salsa dip with pumpkin seeds and serve it with roasted chicken or even a one-pot meal. To make the hummus more crunchy, sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Most of the discomfort and digestive issues due to pumpkin seeds arise when eaten in excess. To avoid this, try eating less than a handful at a time or combine them with other foods such as fruits or yogurt or other seeds. Also, chew the seeds properly to avoid any discomfort.


Even after considering all of the disadvantages of pumpkin seeds, you cannot dispute the abundance of benefits it provides. It is high in antioxidants and improves heart health, liver health, immunological system and prostate.

However, as for any food, it is necessary to practice moderation and consume the seeds in the right manner for optimal benefits. 

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What happens if you eat too many pumpkin seeds?

A. Pumpkin seeds are high in fibre. So, eating a lot of them might produce gas and bloat. In addition, it may cause constipation. Furthermore, eating them in excess may lead to adverse side effects like weight gain and low blood pressure. Therefore, you must consume them in moderation. 

Q. Are pumpkin seeds bad for kidneys?

A. No, if you eat pumpkin seeds in moderation, they can help prevent the build-up of uric acid in the body. Uric acid build-up can lead to kidney stones. However, pumpkin seeds contain other toxins that cause disorders like gout.

Q. Who should not eat pumpkin seeds?

A. People allergic to pumpkin seeds should avoid consuming them. In addition, pregnant and lactating women, infants, people with hypoglycemia and hypotension should avoid eating pumpkin seeds. In addition, if you are on a low-calorie diet, you should limit its consumption as they are high in calories. 

Q. Do pumpkin seeds cause kidney stones?

A. There is no direct correlation between pumpkin seeds and kidney stones. In fact, pumpkin seeds help prevent the build-up of uric acid in the body and thereby prevent kidney stones.  

Q. Is pumpkin seed bad for diabetes?

A. No. Pumpkin seeds decrease blood glucose levels. However, you should avoid taking them with diabetes medications as it can drop the blood sugar levels to a dangerous low and cause subsequent complications.  

Q. Can pumpkin seeds cause blood in stool?

A. Pumpkin seeds are fibre-rich seeds that can induce stomach discomfort, diarrhoea, soreness, bloating, and other symptoms, but not bleeding. It is advisable to consult your healthcare professional immediately if you notice blood in your stool as it can be an indicative sign for an underlying illness. 

Q. Is there uric acid in pumpkin seeds?

A. No, the uric acid concentration is low in most nuts and seeds. Similarly, pumpkin seeds also have low uric acid. 

Q. Do pumpkin seeds cause inflammation?

A. No. Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants, which help to protect our cells from disease and prevent inflammation in our bodies. So, pumpkin seeds with a nutritious diet may work as an anti-inflammatory agent. 

Q. Does pumpkin increase blood pressure?

A. No. Pumpkin seeds lower blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium that lowers blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide synthesis. It is a signalling chemical that helps blood arteries relax to help facilitate better blood and oxygen flow. Therefore, it leads to reduced blood pressure.  

Q. Do pumpkin seeds raise blood sugar?

A. No, it decreases blood sugar. Insulin resistance is widespread in patients with magnesium deficiency. Pumpkin seeds include magnesium, which aids with blood sugar control and reduces insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to the body not effectively responding to insulin to use blood sugar to release energy, increasing blood sugar levels. 

Q. Can pumpkin seeds cause blockage?

A: There can be gas and bloating on excessive consumption of pumpkin seeds. In general, fibre adds bulk to the stool and avoids constipation. However, consuming too many pumpkin seeds at a time can induce constipation.  

Q. Does pumpkin cause gout?

A. No, it prevents gout by detoxification. Gouts occur when there are high levels of uric acid in the body. One of the best diets for lowering uric acid levels is pumpkin seeds. These foods are high in dietary fibres, which aid in absorbing uric acid and its elimination from the body.

Reference Links

  1. Food allergy to pumpkin seed:
  1. Magnesium and Osteoporosis: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Directions:
  2. Antioxidants, inflammation and cardiovascular disease:
  1. Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells:
  2. Alpha-linolenic acid and coronary heart disease:

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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