Pumpkins are one of the best healthy foods to eat in winter. It is one of the superfoods that gives many benefits. Pumpkin is a very versatile fruit and can be added to different dishes. Therefore, let’s understand the various health benefits of pumpkin.
Pumpkin health benefits include weight loss, healthy heart-friendly, optical health, lowering the risk of certain types of cancer, and last but not least, soothing the skin. So try to incorporate it into various dishes and enjoy the health benefits of pumpkin.
Cinderella And Pumpkin
In the Cinderella story, Fairy Godmother used her magic to change a pumpkin into a pumpkin coach to ride Cinderella to go to the ball. As midnight strikes, the coach turned back into a pumpkin. It was a fairy tale. The movie inspired the kids as well as adults to include pumpkin in their meals.
Origin Of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is generally found in North America. Pumpkins are a type of squash. They are found in the gourd family, which means they have hard skin, say shell, and grow on vines. It might look like a vegetable, but it is a fruit because they develop from the flower and hold the plant’s seed.
The fruits mature in early autumn and can be stored for a few months in a dry place well above freezing temperatures. It is commonly found in orange color. In the US and Canada, pumpkin pie is a traditional serving dessert on Thanksgiving Day. Pumpkins are used as a Halloween decoration as well.
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
Due to the slow down of metabolism in winter, body resistance decreases, becoming more susceptible to infections like cough and common cold. Skin health also gets effect in winter. It becomes drier and loses its shine. If we come across these issues, it is time to add specific food to our diets, and pumpkin is one of them. The reasons lie in the health benefits of pumpkin.
1. Pumpkin Is High In Beta-carotene
Like orange and sweet potato, pumpkin is also high in beta-carotene, and our body converts this antioxidant into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps keep the reproductive system healthy. It protects the body from microbes, fighting any infections. It is very useful in healing inflammations and strengthening the immune system.
2. Pumpkin Helps Treat Cancer
Pumpkin works as a suppressant in cancer. It has cancer-fighting nutrients like carotene and beta-carotene (powerful antioxidants), suppressing cancer cells’ growth. If we include pumpkin in our diet, it importantly functions in reducing cancer chances. Mostly, cancer is related to the prostate and lungs. So, we will not get the same benefits if we rely only on vitamin A supplements.
3. Pumpkin Helps Treat Hypertension
Pumpkin contains a high level of potassium. A mineral like potassium plays a very crucial role in maintaining high blood pressure (hypertension). So, including pumpkin in the diet also helps to lower the blood pressure. You can consume unsalted pumpkin seeds filled with plant sterols that help raise HDL cholesterol (called a ‘GOOD CHOLESTEROL). Its anti-hypertensive effects promote a healthy heart.
4. Pumpkin Is Packed With Potassium
Studies have shown that due to the high potassium content in pumpkin, it also helps in certain health issues like a kidney stone, lower the risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes. The high levels of potassium in pumpkin lower blood pressure rate. Potassium helps maintain bone mineral density, which keeps bones healthy.
5. Pumpkin Helps Sharpen Your Vision
Vitamin A helps improve the eyesight, assisting the retina in absorbing and processing the light. Pumpkin is orange in color as it contains an ample quantity of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A that improves your vision, and reduces eye strain. A single cup of pumpkin is a recommended daily intake of vitamin A for most people for vision health. Pumpkin also contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps to prevent cataracts.
6. Pumpkin Aids In Weight Loss
There is a link between eating pumpkin and weight loss. It reduces weight as it is high in fiber and low in calories. A cup of pumpkin also keeps you hydrated and gives you fewer calories and less fat. It curbs your hunger and fulfills your appetite. According to Food NDTV, a cup of pumpkin contains 3 g of fiber and 49 calories. Therefore, add this weight loss friendly food to your diet.
7. Pumpkin Is An Immunity Enhancer
Pumpkin contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate, which help build up the body’s stronger immunity. It speeds up the healing process faster if we get wound. It is beneficial for people with uncontrolled diabetes.
8. Pumpkin Improves Skin Health
The presence of beta-carotene in pumpkin is responsible for healthy skin. It acts as an antioxidant and helps fight against the skin’s aging effect. Pumpkin has enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin cells. You can try using a pumpkin face mask to soothe the skin.
Pumpkin Nutritional Values
For every 100 g of pumpkin,
Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g
There are several recipes of pumpkin in different cuisines, but these are the basic ones.
- Pumpkin curry sabzi
- Pumpkin Raita
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Puri or paratha
- Pumpkin Soups
Another health benefits of pumpkin include the pumpkin seeds we get to eat. Pumpkin seeds contain potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It is a great source of antioxidants and PUFA.