November 07, 2019 · Written by Foodtolive Team
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
Autumn is well underway, and that means corn mazes, comfy sweaters, and of course, everything pumpkin.
While there’s a lot to love about fall, getting to savor this season’s signature food is something many look forward to all year long.
And, as if there weren’t any more reasons to love pumpkins, they are as nutritious as they are delicious.
Here are the best health benefits of pumpkin.
Pumpkins are a variety of winter squash indigenous to North America. Harvesting typically begins between September and October, once they have reached their trademark orange hue, depending on the type of pumpkin.
Pumpkins often are classified as vegetables. Nutritionally, they are closer to veggies than fruits. But, since pumpkins contain seeds, they are technically a fruit.
Here is the nutritional breakdown for one cup of cooked pumpkin:
- 49 calories
- 12.01 grams of carbohydrates
- 2.7 grams of fiber
- 1.76 grams of protein
- 0.17 grams of fat
The same amount is an excellent source for satisfying the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Over 200% of vitamin A
- 19% RDA of vitamin C
- 10% RDA of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese
- 5% RDA of thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus
Their rich nutrition content and low amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol make pumpkins one of the most nourishing foods of the season.
From feeling fuller to protecting eyesight to boosting skin health, here are some of the best health benefits pumpkins have to offer.
Pumpkins have a good fiber to calorie ratio, which is optimal for weight loss. One cup of mashed pumpkin contains 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
Besides providing feelings of fullness, fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevents drops that cause lethargy.
But it’s not just the fruit itself that packs a nutritional punch; pumpkin seeds also have their fair share of health benefits as well. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 1.7 grams of fiber.
Improves Skin Health
Pumpkins have lots of beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, two antioxidants that are necessary for maintaining healthy skin.
Vitamin C doesn’t just support a healthier immune system; it is also essential for producing collagen, which limits bruising and helps heal wounds.
Since the body does not make vitamin C on its own, it has to get this nutrient from outside sources.
Both vitamins C and E work together to fight damage caused by the sun and stop skin dryness from occurring.
Boosts Heart Health
Pumpkin’s numerous nutrients all contribute to better heart health, particularly potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
Studies have found that these compounds can alleviate some risk factors for heart disease, including lowering blood pressure and the risk of stroke.
Furthermore, the antioxidants may stop the oxidation of cells, especially cholesterol, and prevent blockages in the blood vessels and arteries.
Just one cup of cubed pumpkin has nearly double the RDA of vitamin A, which supports vision and eye health.
Vitamin A can help improve eyesight in dim lighting as well as slowing the deterioration of retinal function in some degenerative eye diseases.
Thanksgiving turkey isn’t the only thing that causes tiredness. Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that leads to feelings of drowsiness.
Tryptophan also helps the body produce serotonin, which helps the body relax and improves mood. So, eating a serving of pumpkin seeds an hour before bed could promote a better night’s rest.
Pumpkin is rich in potassium, which assists with muscle function, growth, and recovery. Many people do not get enough of this crucial nutrient, so reaching for the pumpkin is a great way to promote muscle health and even weight loss.
Power Through With Pumpkin
This food is highly versatile, so it’s easy to experiment with new recipes and add them to any diet. Just make sure to avoid the pies and pastries to get all that pumpkins have to offer!
Here are just a few ways to enjoy pumpkin:
- Grilled or roasted with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper
- As a soup with cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices
- Pureed and mixed with hummus, oatmeal, or even yogurt
- As an added ingredient to chili for a delicious nutty kick
- A filler for homemade ravioli or quesadillas
And of course, pumpkin seeds are the perfect snack for home, work, or on the go.
Check the wide selection of organic seeds, mixes, and powders in the Food to Live shop. They’re the perfect way to power through fall and keep your body happy, full, and healthy!