I love food trends, sometimes they seem to pop up for no good reason and others for all the right reasons. Pumpkin seed oil is trending and the reasons should be shared and celebrated. The pumpkin seed oil itself is a luxurious green colour, extremely silky to touch and a smooth nutty flavour to swallow. The dark green colour is due to the phytochemicals present in the oil, which are mainly carotenoid or lutein and chlorophyll or porphyrin. Phytochemicals are the “super food” part of plants and help your body promote good health. Since discovering pumpkin seed oil, I’ve been eating small spoonfuls regularly and honestly, I can’t get enough. What other kind of oil would you want to do that with? It’s a must try and below I’ve summarized some reasons why.
1. Help fight the flu – To keep it simple, pumpkin seed oil can really help fight bad bacteria and parasites that we all defend against daily, especially through flu season. For a long time, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil have been valued for their anti-microbial benefits, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. There are unique proteins in pumpkin seeds and amazing phytonutrients called lignans that are said to have antimicrobial benefits. 
2. Relieve stress and sleep better – If I didn’t have your attention before, I do now. Yes, pumpkin seed oil can help with this and don’t forget it’s tasty too! Pumpkin seed oil contains high amounts of an amino acid called Tryptophan which once ingested, our bodies convert to serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is known to enhance mood but it in the evening it can be converted to melatonin to help us sleep better. 
3. Maintain prostate health – Do you have a husband or a man in your life? As men reach middle age, the prostate becomes a topic of conversation with your family doctor. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and zinc critical to normal prostate function. In fact, a normal prostate has the highest levels of zinc in the body. Results of a 2011 study showed that malignant prostate tissue and prostate tissue from men with BPH had significantly less zinc than normal prostate tissue. The study also found an increase in urinary zinc excretion.  Also, there has been studies that show that pumpkin seed oil may slow prostate enlargement 
4. Help manage menopausal symptoms – Okay, so this one in near and dear to my heart. To be honest I’ve been suffering from symptoms of estrogen deficiency and I mean suffering! It’s important to me, to manage these symptoms through whole food and pumpkin seed oil does just that. Pumpkin seed oil is rich in phytoestrogens which can help us with some of those nagging symptoms like, hot flashes and is favourable for a post-menopausal cardiovascular profile. 
5. The perfect alkaline forming food – It has become more and more popular and well documented that eating an alkaline based diet can be beneficial to your health and fighting off disease. Basically, your body works very hard to maintain a neutral PH level and a lot of the processed foods of the North American diet cause acidity in our bodies. Eating alkaline forming foods is important to fighting against the acidity and allowing the body to maintain a neutral environment for good heatlh. Pumpkin seed oil and seeds are an amazing alkaline food and if for no other reason, try them!
So, where can you find pumpkin seed oil? That’s really what you want to know, right? Well, if you have a local independent food store that is up on their trends, you will probably find it there. There is one type of pumpkin seed oil that I believe is miles above the rest and this is Styrian Gold Pumpkin Seed Oil. It is imported from the province of Styria in the south of Austria. Their seeds are rich in colour and nutrients and harvested without pesticides. There is a lovely family in our beautiful province of Ontario who has taken it upon themselves to import this yummy goodness, you can check it out here http://www.styriangold.ca/
Oh, one more thing! Pumpkin seed oil is not the type of oil to use for frying your food. It is meant for salad dressings or added to recipes in its room temperature form. As mentioned above, I just eat it straight up!
 Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 May 5. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21545273
 Supplementation with pumpkin seed oil improves plasma lipid profile and cardiovascular outcomes of female non-ovariectomized and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):873-7. PMID: 18567058
 Antimicrobial proteins and oil seeds from pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata). Nature and Science, 2011;9 (3) A. B. Abd EI-Aziz and H.H. Abd EI-Kalek.
 Hudson, Craig, et al. “Protein Source Tryptophan versus Pharmaceutical Grade Tryptophan as an Efficacious Treatment for Chronic Insomnia.” Nutritional Neuroscience, vol. 8, no. 2, 2005, pp. 121–127., doi:10.1080/10284150500069561.
 Christudoss, P., Selvakumar, R., Fleming, J. J., & Gopalakrishnan, G. (2011). Zinc status of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate carcinoma. Indian Journal of Urology, 27(1), 14-18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114577/#__ffn_sectitle
 Fruhwirth, Gilbert. “Seeds and Oil of the Styrian Oil Pumpkin: Components and Biological Activities. Eur.” European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. Nov 2007
Styrian Gold Pumpkin Seed Oil is an important export commodity of Austria and Slovenia. It is made by pressing roasted, hull-less pumpkin seeds, from a local variety of pumpkin called the “Styrian oil pumpkin”. (1)