COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY, vol.21, no.5, pp.4422-4446, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
The growing interest in foods that can be beneficial to human health is bringing into focus some products that have been used locally for centuries but have recently gained worldwide attention. One of these foods is pumpkin seed oil, which has been used in culinary and traditional medicine, but recent data also show its use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. In addition, some sources refer to it as a potential functional food, mainly because it is obtained from pumpkin seeds, which contain many functional components. However, the production process of the oil may affect the content of these components and consequently the biological activity of the oil. In this review, we have focused on summarizing scientific data that explore the potential of pumpkin seed oil as a functional food ingredient. We provide a comprehensive overview of pumpkin seed oil chemical composition, phytochemical content, biological activity, and safety, as well as the overview of production processes and contemporary use. The main phytochemicals in pumpkin seed oil with health-related properties are polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and fatty acids, but carotenoids, squalene, tocopherols, and minerals may also contribute to health benefits. Most studies have been conducted in vitro and support the claim that pumpkin seed oil has antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. Clinical studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil may be beneficial in the treatment of cardiovascular problems of menopausal women and ailments associated with imbalance of sex hormones.