Effective Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Adapted from Fullscripts.com by Janelle Cahill

Ah, fall, the season when children head back to school, and our favorite seasonal TV shows and coffee house treats reappear. With changes to the weather, changes to our skin also appear. There could not be a better time to reap the amazing health benefits of pumpkin, as an ingredient, to get our skin prepped and beautified for the cooler winter months ahead.

You probably never thought “pumpkin” and “gorgeous skin” could be paired together in a sentence. You are more likely to say “Pumpkin Spice Latte, extra hot” than “pumpkin is part of my skin care routine”. The fact is, pumpkin has more uses than a mere Halloween decoration or a pie filling, and the benefits last way longer than it takes you to down that latte.

More than just a seasonal decoration, pumpkin is a highly nutrient-dense food, one that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and low in calories. (1) Pumpkin can be made into purees for cooking and baking, pumpkin seeds can be processed into oils to be used in make-up and other body care products, as well as used in the kitchen as a culinary delight. Looking for a vegetarian-friendly protein powder? Pumpkin has got you covered!

Health benefits of pumpkin

Before heading out to the pumpkin patch, consider the health impact pumpkin can have and how you can harvest those benefits into improving your everyday life.

Reduces cell damage

Pumpkin contains a powerful punch of antioxidants – alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and many others. These antioxidants may help reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the body. (2) What’s a free radical? Free radicals “are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging”. Definitely, something we do not want.

Brightens & smooths the skin

The fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) found in pumpkin can rev up how quickly skin cells renew in the body. (3) By increasing the turnover rate, skin cells may appear brighter and smoother, and thus, more youthful in appearance! Out with the old, in with the new.

Balances hormone levels

Not just a teenage ailment, acne is considered either bacterial or hormonal. Pumpkin contains zinc, which can be a vital mineral for helping treat hormonal acne. (4) Zinc can help keep hormone levels under control, and level out oil production.

Improves the skin’s barrier properties

Winter elements can be harsh on the skin; fortunately, the essential fatty acids and Vitamin E found in pumpkin seeds can help maintain and fortify the skin’s natural barrier function. (5) Face the elements fearlessly with these fighters on your side!

Slows down aging

Vitamin A and Vitamin C are age-defying antioxidants, and both are found in pumpkin. (6) These vitamins can help soften and soothe the skin, and give skin a boost in collagen production to help ward off the signs of aging.

Pumpkin contains Zinc, which can be a vital mineral for helping treat hormonal acne.

Pumpkin in your diet

If the thought of eating raw pumpkin doesn’t sound overly appetizing, and before you go wild on grandma’s world famous pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner, it may be wise to consider some healthy, nutrition-rich recipes that have pumpkin as the star ingredient.


Warm up and glow with a roasted pumpkin curry soup, or spread pumpkin seed butter on sliced apples picked fresh from the orchard for a rich, tasty snack. (7) Pumpkin seed protein powders can be mixed with your beverage of choice, and by adding the right spices, could soon replace your morning latte. After carving out a spooky Halloween jack o’lantern, roast the pumpkin seeds or pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) with some sweet or savory spices for a quick and delicious way to add the wonderful nutritional benefits of pumpkin to your diet.


For those who prefer to leave the baking and cooking to grandma, you may consider adding a pumpkin seed nutritional supplement into your daily beauty regime – no need to go smashing pumpkins to get the good stuff inside. Pumpkin seed oil, both in liquid and capsule form, make getting all the health benefits from this wonderful fall squash easy as…well, pumpkin pie. Topical skin treatments, like cleansers and moisturizers, are other ways to directly target the skin-benefiting components of pumpkin.

The bottom line

Take advantage of what nature has provided us this fall, and fill up on the comforting, nutritional properties of season’s most favorite squash. Move over coconut oil – pumpkin season is here, and we are excited to get cozy with all the flavors and features it can bring us!