Wellness Encyclopedia – Pumpkin Seed Oil

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Learn more about this great oil, gaining attention for its delicate nutty flavor and rich health benefits…

Sometimes my skin decides to go rogue. Perhaps due to the seasons, the weather, stress, diet or all of the above, several times a year I find my 30-something self fretting in front of the bathroom mirror and cursing the fact that, no, acne and blemishes aren’t things you leave behind when you graduate high school. They’re like that one annoying relative you only see a few times a year, but it’s always around holidays and special occasions. You know, when you really want to look your best. With the first day of fall, well… tomorrow, my skin has once again decided to throw a party where everyone’s invited. Dry skin is there, blemishes too. With a veritable VIP list of issues to deal with, it’s time to bust out the big guns. But I’m not talking about astringents and the industrial-strength creams and ointments you see splashed across drug store shelves. Nope, I’m talking good old self-care and natural remedies. One of my new favorites for fighting inflammation, easing redness and increasing moisture? Pumpkin seed oil! Whether I’m tossing it into salads or using it to moisturize my hair and skin, this unique, nutty oil is as versatile as it is healthy. What better ingredient for health to discuss on the cusp of autumn? Read on to learn about this unique oil and find out how to use it.

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What is it? Derived from pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil can look either deep green or a reddish molasses color, depending on how much of it there is (this is called dichromatism), though there is a cheaper and lower-quality variety available pressed from white pumpkin seeds that is clear. Originally a speciality of Austria and Slovenia, pumpkin seed oil’s popularity spread across Europe and more recently has gained attention stateside for its delicate nutty flavor and rich health benefits.

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What are the benefits? A rich source of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, pumpkin seed oil offers a variety of health benefits when taken internally and applied topically. Most notibly, the high levels of plant sterols coupled with EFAs has been attributed to better bladder and urinary tract function and improved prostate health in men. The same nutrients responsible for improving these functions have also been found to lower the levels of substances that can lead to kidney stones. Pumpkin seed oil also brings with it the unique amino acid cucurbitin, which has been found to be an effective anti-parasitic treatment. The EFAs and potent amount of vitamin E available in pumpkin seed oil can ease overall systemic inflammation, especially in those suffering from arthritis and skin issues. Basically, we should all be eating way more pumpkin — the seeds, the flesh and the oil. Tis’ the season, so load up!

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How do I use it? Pumpkin seed oil is delicate, so it’s best used cold or in low-heat cooking. In culinary recipes, pumpkin seed oil can be drizzled over salads, stirred into soups just before serving, mixed into smoothies, and used in place of butter in low-heat cooking. Think of it as olive oil’s friendly, slightly nuttier cousin. Pumpkin seed oil can also be used topically, similar as you would use coconut oil in your beauty routine. Try it as a nourishing hair mask, or use the method below to treat dry, stressed skin.

Simple Pumpkin Seed Oil Moisturizing Facial

You will need:

1 tbsp high quality organic cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil

Clean washcloth

Hot water

Optional: moisturizer of choice (we’re loving this one by MadeCera)

Pour the pumpkin seed oil into a small dish. Soak the washcloth in hot water and wring out. Using clean hands, apply the oil to your clean, dry face and cover with the washcloth. Relax for 15-20 minutes. When ready, soak the washcloth once again in hot water and wring out. Use the washcloth to gently massage your face and sop up any remaining oil. Splash your face a few times with lukewarm water (not hot) and pat dry with a clean, dry towel. Apply additional moisturizer if needed or desired.

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