Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin chili, and pumpkin pie—the mouth-watering options are endless. It’s autumn, and this delicious vegetable (or some may call it a fruit) has many nutritional benefits that are often overlooked. Whether you love it already, it’s more reasons to love pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin pancakes or pumpkin butter—you’re going to love these extra reasons to enjoy this hearty jack-o-lantern!
First, pumpkin is fantastic for your eye sight because it’s loaded with vitamin A. This water-soluble vitamin assists in healthy skin, teeth and soft tissue. Also, it promotes good vision, especially in low light. Vitamin A is also excellent for reproduction and breastfeeding. In fact, one cup of cubed pumpkin is twice the daily amount of vitamin A. Pumpkin and vitamin A has also been shown to lower the risk of retinitis, which may cause blindness.
Similarly, pumpkin is rich in Vitamin C, which is used to heal our skin and make new blood vessels. Vitamin C also repairs and maintains bones and teeth. This vitamin is well-known for fighting against colds, but it has many more benefits. For instance, it has a proactive role in fighting against cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Furthermore, it assists in dry and splitting hair and anemia. In addition to pumpkin, Vitamin C is also found in pineapple, strawberries , potatoes and broccoli.
In addition, pumpkin is a good source of fiber. One cup of fresh, cooked pumpkin is the equivalent of 11 percent of a woman’s daily fiber requirement. A diet rich in fiber has many useful benefits, such as breaking down carbohydrates and sugar to regulate blood sugar. Eating high-fiber foods (such as raspberries, bananas and apples) can also reduce your risk of a heart attack by up to forty percent. Similarly, research has shown that fiber helps reduce stroke and assists in maintaining healthy weight loss. Furthermore, a high-fiber diet may prevent irritable bowel syndrome or reduce the risk of encountering painful kidney stones.
Pumpkin can even be considered a good alternative to a hair conditioner. According to Huffington post, you mix a cup of pumpkin, a cup of yogurt and two tablespoons of honey into a bowl. Mix well and then apply it to your hair, root to tip. Then, wash it out and follow it up with a shampoo or conditioner. This is going to make your hair shine and sparkle, while your hair appears less dry. In addition, pumpkin may help stimulate hair growth. Those that consume pumpkin seeds have a better chance of growing a thick head of hair.
Furthermore, pumpkin seeds help fight away osteoporosis. This is due to pumpkin having a high level of zinc, which helps prevent acne and fights the severity of colds. Zinc also heightens the senses of smell and taste, which help them function at higher levels. Other benefits of zinc include being proactive with strengthening night vision and reducing the risk of bone loss. It helps makes bones harder so that a person won’t encounter osteoporosis. Zinc is often found in such foods as pumpkin, beef or crabs.
Moreover, if you’re trying to lose weight, then you may want to consider eating pumpkin. One half of a pumpkin is forty calories and is 8 grams of fiber. We’re talking about the small baking pumpkins here; we’re not talking about the large jack-o-lanterns. Dietary fiber curbs your appetite and tricks your body into thinking that it’s full. Dietary fiber also slows down the rate which sugar or glucose is absorbed by your body. This is going to keep your blood sugar stable and, in turn, help you lose those unwanted pounds. Keep in mind, however, that you must burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. This means that in addition to pumpkin (or any food, for that matter), you have to exercise for 30-60 minutes every day.
Another reason to love pumpkin is that is has a high level of potassium. In fact, a pumpkin has more potassium than any other fruit or vegetable. Potassium promotes strong kidney heath, working to keep your blood pressure under control. It promotes reducing blood clots and forming new blood vessels. In addition, potassium helps your heart squeeze blood throughout your body, assist your nerves in moving and much more. Other potassium-rich foods include bananas, baked potatoes, fish or avocados.
Pumpkin is also a great food to eat if you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep. Pumpkins are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which most think of as being in a Thanksgiving turkey. Your body uses the tryptophan to create serotonin, which is the “happy” hormone. Then, serotonin is used to create melatonin, which is known as the sleep hormone. In essence, all these hormones help boost your mood. The serotonin makes you much happier because you have a full belly and the melatonin helps you catch up on the sleep you’ve been missing out on. A handful of pumpkin seeds will fit the bill, or a piece of pumpkin pie will suffice, too!
Finally, when you think of pumpkin, you should think of cancer awareness. Pumpkin is especially proactive when it comes to breast cancer. Studies show that those people that eat pumpkin have an 11% lower risk of breast cancer than those that don’t eat it. This is partially due to the vegetable being incredibly rich in fiber. In addition, pumpkin is low in calories. With a rise in obesity in the U.S., this is good news for those that love everything pumpkin. Not only is it going to help you shed the pounds (don’t forget the exercise!), but it’s going to enrich your diet with antioxidants. Bara-carotene, which coverts to Vitamin A when it enters into the body, helps prevent cancer. Furthermore, pumpkins have an antioxidant called carotenoids. This antioxidant not only aids in cancer prevention, but assists in skin health.
So, let’s dish up the pumpkin pie. Grab a handful of pumpkin seeds or mix up ingredients for that pumpkin smoothie! How about pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup or even pumpkin waffles? It’s autumn. The air is cooler and the spices fill the kitchen with awesome aromas. You have free reign to enjoy this delicious vegetable—and reap the health benefits!