What are the Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Protein?

Pumpkin seeds have been traditionally used around the world (from Mexico to India to the Caribbean) for nutrition as well as disease-fighting compounds. Modern science confirms this, with researchers celebrating the “therapeutic and bioactive” potential of pumpkin seeds (1). 


We’re excited to harness these same benefits in Naked Seed, a protein powder that stars pumpkin seeds along with watermelon, chia, and sunflower seeds. Read on to get the scoop on how pumpkin seeds can add to your supplement routine. 


What is Pumpkin Seed Protein?


Pumpkin seed protein powder is made directly from the teardrop-shaped seeds of the pumpkin plant. While pumpkins as a whole are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, their seeds are a particularly concentrated source of these helpful nutrients. 


Naked Seed combines milled pumpkin seeds with watermelon, chia, and sunflower seeds to provide a balanced seed blend. Pumpkin seed-based protein powders like Naked Seed can be enjoyed in smoothies, shakes, baked goods, cereal, and however else you typically consume protein powder. 


Pumpkin Seed Protein Nutrition


In their whole form, pumpkin seeds are known for being a plentiful source of vitamin E, magnesium, protein, antioxidants, and healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids (2). (The next section unpacks exactly how these nutritional components improve human health). 


Pumpkin seed protein powder has many of the benefits of whole pumpkin seeds, but with a slightly different nutritional profile. The milling process requires removing fat from the pumpkin seeds, so pumpkin seed powder has fewer calories and less fat than an equal volume of whole seeds would. Pumpkin seed powder is still rich in protein, minerals, and fiber, as whole seeds are. 


Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Protein


Cancer-Fighting Effects


Researchers have found that pumpkin seeds’ extract has anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects on multiple cancer types, including breast, prostate, colon, lung, and liver (3 , 4). This is likely thanks to the various phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant compounds) with antioxidant properties in pumpkin seeds. 


Prostate and Bladder Health


Pumpkin seeds’ naturally occurring oils are proven to help improve urinary symptoms, like overactive bladder syndrome. (5 ). Pumpkin seed extract has also shown to improve prostate health in both humans and animals with benign prostate hyperplasia (6 7 ). While you’d get a lower (and therefore clinically less potent) dose of these oils by eating pumpkin seeds or taking pumpkin seed powder, these studies nonetheless showcase the natural power of pumpkin seeds. 


Mood & Mental Health


Several recent studies have proposed that eating pumpkin seeds may help prevent depression (8 9), perhaps thanks to the amino acid tryptophan (1) . 

 

Blood Sugar 


Several studies have found that pumpkin seed powder and pumpkin seed extract have improved metabolic markers in animals with diabetes (1). The protein, fiber, and healthy fats in pumpkin seeds make them a nutritional sound option for blood-sugar-friendly snacking. 


Plant-based & Sustainable 


Vegans and vegetarians can leverage pumpkin seeds as a rich source of plant-based protein. Plant-based proteins help promote environmental sustainability because they require fewer resources to produce (including land, water, and energy) (10).  


Easy and tasty


Both pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed powder are easy to add to your diet. Try pumpkin seeds mixed into hot or cold cereal at breakfast, as a topping on salads, or on their own as a salty, nutrient-dense snack. Pumpkin seed protein powder is easy to incorporate just as you’d use any protein supplement, like blended into a smoothie with fruit, veggies, and/or your favorite liquid. 


Pumpkin Seed Protein vs. Pea Protein: What's the difference?

Pea protein is made by first milling peas into a coarse flour. Next, the solid protein-rich portion is separated from the liquids via centrifuge. Finally, the pea powder is purified so the end result is clean, mild tasting pea protein. 


To make powder, pumpkin seeds are cold-pressed to remove moisture. Next, they undergo a milling (grinding) process until the result is a finely textured powder. 


Which one is better: pea or pumpkin protein?


Pea protein and seed protein both offer high-quality plant-based protein that’s easy to incorporate into your routine. Which one is “better” simply depends on what your goals are. 


Higher in protein? 


Pea. At 27 grams per serving vs. 20 grams per serving, pea powder offers more protein per scoop than seed based protein does. With that said, both of these protein doses are within the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s recommended amount for pre- or post-work supplementation (11). 


Better source of fiber? 


Pumpkin seed. While many protein powders contain little to no fiber, Naked Seed has 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving. This helps you meet 20% and 13% of the recommended fiber needs for females and males (respectively) (12). In comparison, pea protein has 2 grams per serving.  


Offers more iron? 


Pumpkin seed. While pea protein does contain a significant amount of iron (2.85 mg per serving), pumpkin seed protein powder offers a whopping 7.68 mg per serving. This meets close to 100% of adult males’ iron needs and nearly half of adult females’ needs (13). 


Most favorable amino acid profile for muscle building? 


It’s a tie. Both pea and pumpkin seed proteins have typical amino acid profiles for legume-based proteins, which means both are abundant in amino acids like lysine yet relatively lower in the amino acid methionine. So long as your diet is balanced with a variety of other proteins (either plant-based, animal-based, or both), you’ll have a complete array of amino acids for building muscle. 


Is Pumpkin Seed Protein a Complete Protein?


Scientists consider the protein from pumpkin seeds to have “high values of bioavailability of amino acids” - in plain English, that means easy for your body to absorb and use (1).


Pumpkin seeds are technically not a complete protein because they contain relatively lower amounts of the amino acid methionine. To ensure you’re getting ample amounts of every amino acid, ensuring you’re getting a balance of a variety of different types of proteins throughout your day will help.


You can also consider pairing complementary proteins (14). For instance, pairing pumpkin seeds with grains or nuts can help boost methionine levels overall. Naked Seed is carefully formulated using a blend of four different seeds to get this same complementary effect. 


Pumpkin Seed Protein Recipes


It’s time to try out this bioactive food! These recipes are both delicious ways to mix pumpkin seed protein powder into your day:


Easy Banana Shake   


Blend together….

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1 handful ice cubes 
  • 2 scoops Naked Seed
  • 2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon 

Pumpkin x Pumpkin Smoothie


Blend together….

  • ½ frozen banana 
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy) 
  • 2 scoops Naked Seed 
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

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