Posted on Oct 29, 2019, 4 p.m.
Pumpkins are winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, they are native to North America where it typically refers to the orange type, but in other regions it may refer to any type of winter squash.
Though viewed as a vegetable pumpkins are actually fruits as they contain seeds, but nutritionally they are more similar to veggies. Pumpkin is very versatile in use, and beyond the delicious taste they are nutritious and linked to a variety of health benefits.
Pumpkins have an impressive nutrient profile, one cup of cooked pumpkin contains 49 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 245% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 19% of the RDI of calcium, 16% of the RDI of potassium, 11% of the RDI of copper, manganese and vitamin B12, 10% of the RDI of vitamin E, 8% of the RDI of iron, as well as small amounts of zinc, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and several other B vitamins. Pumpkins are also 94% water and high in beta carotene. Even the seeds are edible and nutritiously linked to health benefits.
Pumpkins are a good source of anti-aging antioxidants which will neutralize free radicals molecules that are produced by the body’s metabolic process to prevent them from damaging your cells.
Pumpkins are full of nutrients that can help to boost the immune system such as beta carotene that the body turns into vitamin A which has been shown to strengthen the immune system and help fight infections. They are also rich in vitamin C which has been shown to help increase white blood cell production, help immune cells work effectively, and to help wounds heal faster. Pumpkins are a good source of vitamin E, iron, and folate which have also been shown to bolster the immune system.
Eyesight can diminish with age, consuming the right nutrients can help reduce the risk and pumpkins are a source of plentiful nutrients that have been linked to strong eyesight such as vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and vitamin C which lowers the risk of blindness, cataracts, age related macular degeneration, and may help to prevent free radical damage to the eyes.
Pumpkins may help with weight loss as they are low in calories while being nutrient dense, meaning you can eat more of it but still take in fewer calories; and it is 94% water as well as a good source of fiber to help curb your appetite.
Anti-aging antioxidant carotenoids fight to neutralize free radical damage which may also help to protect against certain cancers, higher intake of alpha carotene and beta carotene has been shown to be associated with lower risk of stomach, throat, pancreas, breast and certain other cancers according to research.
Pumpkins are heart healthy as they are rich in potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants which may help to protect against LDL cholesterol from oxidizing which can accumulate along the walls of blood vessels and restrict the vessels to raise the risk of heart disease.
Pumpkins are great for healthy skin thanks to their vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, lutein, zeaxanthin, and carotenoid content that can act as a natural sun block and assist in collagen production.
Pumpkins are more versatile than what you may think because they are easy to add to your diet and eat. They have a sweet flavour making them popular for pancakes, muffins, pies, and custards, but they work equally well in savory dishes such as soups, pastas, and being roasted.
If purchasing pre-cut or canned be sure to read the labels carefully as not all products are 100% pumpkins as well as some contain added ingredients like added sugars. Even the pumpkin seeds are edible and also offer health benefits such as improving bladder and health heart among others.
Pumpkin is typically tolerated well by most people, but some may have allergies after eating it. It is also mildly diuretic and can increase the amount of salt and water the body expels via urine, meaning those taking certain medications need to be careful as this effect can cause side effects.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.