Health benefits of pumpkin

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!   

7 Comments

  1. Angela

    Wow, I had no idea pumpkin was so beneficial. First of all, who knew about pumpkin seeds? I have osteoporosis, and am always on the lookout for foods that will help with that. I also like that it can help you sleep better. I live near a bakery that makes the best chocolate chip pumpkin bread. Great, now I have another excuse to buy it! Interesting post, I’m glad I came across this.

  2. Jenny

    I had no clue that pumpkin was high in potassium! I always use bananas to keep my levels up. Looks like I will be getting some pumpkin this fall! I remember reading about how beneficial the seeds were. I was eating them for awhile but I am not a fan so I stopped. I would much rather eat the pumpkin than the seeds!

  3. Melonie

    I like pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin pie.However, I prefer to eat only my pumpkin pie and my mother’s pumpkin pie. I do not care about eating anyone else’s.Also, I love when the holidays rolls around because Jack In the Box and Braums Ice Cream and Dairy both carry pumpkin ice cream.
    Furthermore, I love to eat pumpkin seeds, too! But, I never heard of pumpkin butter.Vitamin A does have a lot of benefits! As I was browsing through the aisles of the grocery store last night,I thought about how I should get myself a pumpkin. You make me want to go back out to the store and buy a pumpkin, to make a pumpkin pie with now! To make the pumpkin stuff for your hair, do you cook the pumpkin first?
    Wow! Pumpkin really does have a lot of health benefits! This information that you have provided is great! I may actually try a pumpkin smoothie.If not, I will make sure that I will make a baked pumpkin custard then.

  4. Jacquie

    Very interesting; I haven’t eaten pumpkin since I was a child and although I didn’t like it then, I’m going to give it another try as it sounds like it is a superfood! I also didn’t like olives as a child but love them now so I’m hoping the same will happen here.

    I love trying out homemade concoctions on my hair and the pumpkin conditioner sounds great.

  5. Nina

    Pumpkin is one of my favorite vegetables! Baked pumpkin is divine! Also pumpkin in your risotto or frittata. Such an easy ingredient to work with too. I usually bake it before I put it in the risotto or fritatta or you can simply eat it freshly baked . Butternut pumpkin is much sweeter and tastes amazing boiled and mashed with butter and milk. The fact that it is so good for you is just an added bonus.

  6. Wanda

    I knew pumpkin was packed with vitamin A but didn’t know it was so rich in vitamin C. I don’t eat as much pumpkin as I should considering how great it is. I eat many bananas and apples so I do get plenty of fibers but I will also add pumpkin to my list and try eating some at least once every 2-3 days.

  7. Andrea Robinson

    I had the pleasure of staying with a Chinese family for awhile. Every night, the nanny would cook wonderful food and it always had a delicious orange vegetable in it that I thought I had never heard of — until I found out it was pumpkin! Up until that time, I thought the only thing you could make out of pumpkin was pie, but I didn’t like pumpkin pie.

    This nanny used to grow the pumpkins in the back yard and cut them up into cubes and make the most delicious meals out of them. I never knew just how good they are for you until just now.

    As I read down your list, I was amazed. Every single thing on the list is something I need … something good for the eyes, for the sleep, for potassium levels … everything!

    I think I’ve just discovered my new favorite vegetable.

    Thank you so much, Jennifer!!! As usual, good “food for thought.”

    :)

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