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Wednesday
Oct262016

Happy Halloween!

To get into the Halloween spirit this weekend, my roommates and I carved pumpkins. We had a lot of fun as we carefully cut out our designs, while trying to preserve our fingers! However as you know, before you get to the fun of carving there is a lot of prep work to be done. Our pumpkins produced A LOT of pumpkin “guts”. We didn’t want to waste all of this, so we decided to roast the seeds. YUM, this definitely was a good decision!  I was curious as to the nutritional value of pumpkin seeds and I learned they are a great source of protein, fiber, zinc, etc. In fact, a research study was published this summer by XJ Zhao et al. suggesting pumpkin seed oil (PSO) can alleviate certain types of cellular damage caused by a high-fat diet in rats1. This study divided rats into three groups: 1) controls fed a normal diet (n=20), 2) a high-fat diet group (n=20), and 3) a high-fat diet group with PSO intervention (n=20). Liver tissue samples were examined by histology and quantitative real-time PCR. The PSO intervention group showed decreased accumulation of fat deposits in the liver, as compared to the high-fat diet group1. Further, the PSO intervention group displayed normalized expression patterns of genes involved in lipid metabolism and inflammation, as compared to the high-fat diet group1. While it is unknown whether these results will translate to humans, consider roasting pumpkins seeds as you celebrate Halloween this year!

-TMG

1) Zhao et al. (2016) Intervention of pumpkin seed oil on metabolic disease revealed by metabonomics and transcript profile J. of Science of Food and Agriculture

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