(pure Pumpkin Seed Oil)
Pumpkin seed oils’ main nutrients are: essential fatty acid – Omega 6, Omega 9, Vitamin A & E, antioxidants, phytosterols, carotenoids.
Collectively known as lipids. The main functions of lipids are to: supply and transport fatty acids and vitamins, protect vital body organs, insulate warmth and regulate body temperature, assist growth and promote healthy blood, nerves, muscles and skin, transport and breakdown cholesterol, prolong digestion and enhance absorption and flavour, be a source and store of energy.
Important to every cell in the body for normal growth, especially of the blood vessels and nerves, and to keep the skin and other tissues youthful and supple through their lubricating quality. These nutrients are invaluable for the production and movement of energy throughout the body. They regulate the transportation of oxygen and are vital in maintaining the integrity of cell structure. The essential fatty acids are all polyunsaturated and have the unique ability to lower cholesterol levels of the blood.
Omega 6 or Linoleic acid (LA) is a polyunsaturated essential fatty acid. It produces hormone like substance that are needed to prevent blood clotting, inhibit inflammatory responses and to enhance the immune system.
Omega 9 or Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid usually associated with olive oil. It may help improve heart health and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. These fats act to lower dangerous LDL cholesterol levels and discourage plaque buildup in the arteries.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. It is beneficial to our eyes as it helps maintain the health of the cornea. Vitamin A also assist the cells in our body to grow, heal, maintain structural integrity of cells and acts as an antioxidant by neutralising free radicals (unstable molecules). Due to the healing affects on cells, the maintenance of healthy functioning of the mucos linings in our bodies and the stimulation of T-helper cell activity, Vitamin A has been shown as beneficial in preventing the development of cancer.
Vitamin Eis a powerful antioxidant that protects cell membranes and can assist with wound healing and reducing the oxidation affects preventing the breakdown of other nutrients, especially fats. Vitamin E is associated with scar healing and because of the antioxidant effects may retard the aging process. Sunflower oil has the highest Vitamin E content of all oils.
Antioxidants retard the oxidation and subsequent destruction of other nutrients as well as help protect cells and tissue linings.
Phytosterols or plant sterols are plant compounds with chemical structures similar to that of cholesterol. Interestingly, phytosterols so closely resemble cholesterol that they can actually block food-based cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream. The result is that both phytosterols and dietary cholesterol end up excreted in waste matter. Because of their ability to block dietary cholesterol absorption, phytosterols can help lower cholesterol levels.
Carotenoids have antioxidant properties. The carotenoids found in yellow, orange and dark green leafy vegetables have strong anticancer properties.
Cucurbita pepo L. [Fam. Cucurbitaceae]
Cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil from dried, lightly toasted pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain 30-50% oil composed mainly of fatty acids including palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids (these four fatty acids make up 98% of the total amount of fatty acids); tocopherols including beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol; and carotenoids including lutein and beta-carotene. Pumpkin seed oil also contains chlorophyll.
Lipids: Fatty acids, total saturated, 19.9%; 16:0=12.8%; 18:0=6.4%; Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 32.4%; 16:1=0.23%; oleic acid or 18:1=32.2%; Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated=47.7%; linoleic acid or 18:2=47.3%g; linolenic acid or 18:3=0.46%; Phytosterols (in free and bound forms) approximately 2g/100g; Cholesterol 0g/100g. The gamma-tocopherol content, which is about 5-10 times as much as that of alpha-tocopherol, varies over a broad range (41-620 mg/kg dry pumpkin seeds). For analysis, tocopherols and tocotrienols are extracted with hexane and analyzed by NP-HPLC/FLD with hexane/dioxan (96/4) as eluent, with fluorescence detection at 292/335 nm. Pumpkin seed oil used locally in Eritrea was found to be rich in oil (approximately 35%), protein (38%), alpha-tocoferols (3mg/100 g) and carbohydrate content (approximately 37%). The four dominant fatty acids found were: palmitic C16:0 (13.3%), stearic C18:0 (8.0%), oleic C18:1 (29.0%) and linoleic C18:2 (47.0%). The oil contains an appreciable amount of unsaturated fatty acids (78.0%) and was found to be a rich source of linoleic acid (47.0%). Variation in nutrient content exists between different cultivars and varieties of pumpkin.