10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin
With the change of season we welcome back a favorite flavor; America is about to embrace the season of pumpkin! From pumpkin spice lattes to big Halloween decorations, this savory orange fruit will be everywhere you look; and did you know you can eat every part of a pumpkin? Yep, from the skin to the seeds and even the stalk, you can eat it all roasted or steamed, sweet or savory.
With so many ways to enjoy pumpkin, we’ve pulled together the top health benefits of eating this versatile fruit so that you can enjoy your snacks and dishes guilt-free.
1. Low Calorie, High Nutrient Content
Being 90% water, pumpkins are a low-calorie food with plenty of beneficial nutrients. They’ve got more fiber than kale, more potassium than bananas, and are full of magnesium, manganese, and iron. Pumpkins are also a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Riboflavin.
2. Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
We shared in an earlier article how pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are a perfect snack and work as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in reducing symptoms of inflammation. Plus, they’re even better than drugs because they taste great and don’t have any of the negative side-effects!
3. Anti-Cancer Properties
Pumpkins are incredibly rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that has been linked with reducing the risk of cancer. Studies have shown that populations with high levels of beta-carotene in their diet had lower population-wide rates of cancer.
4. Great Source of Protein
One serve of pumpkin provides 4% of recommended daily protein values, which is great news for non-meat eaters looking to increase their protein intake.
5. Good For Your Eyes
Vitamin A is essential for good eye health, helping the retina absorb and process light, and pumpkins contain around 245% of your daily requirement in just one serving! Additionally, lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in pumpkin, support the prevention of cataracts and may slow the development of macular degeneration.
6. Supports Your Immunity
The large amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin C found in pumpkin help protect your body and recover more quickly from infections, viruses, and diseases. Pumpkin oil can also help fight against bacterial and fungal infections.
7. Good For Your Skin
The properties of pumpkin can protect your skin from harmful UV rays, plus the pulp is a popular ingredient in natural face masks that leave your skin looking fresher and younger.
8. Helps Treat Baldness
While chemical treatments exist to treat baldness, they come with a number of side effects. The natural pumpkin seed oil alternative encourages hair growth by blocking the body’s process of creating a particular hormone that shrinks hair follicles.
9. Helps Heal Wounds and Burns
Pumpkin oil has been found to have healing properties, with tests on second-degree burns on rats showing a positive impact on the closing of wounds by increasing the production of collagen by 65%.
10. Good for the Heart
The high amount of potassium found in pumpkin is great for the heart, regulating blood pressure and supporting cardiovascular health. Studies have indicated that the consumption of the right amount of potassium is as important for hypertension and high blood pressure as is the minimization of sodium intake.
To reap the most benefits from pumpkins, be sure to opt for real, whole pumpkin rather than canned pumpkin pie mix, as it typically contains added sugars and syrups.
Take a look at our favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin here.
Let us know your favorite pumpkin recipe in the comments below!
Do you have a passion for nutrition & natural healing?. Learn more about the Food Matters Nutrition Certification Program here.