A Fall Favorite – Pumpkin’s Little-Known Health Benefits
Pumpkins are the symbol of fall and harvest time. Pumpkins, when carved, become jack-o-lanterns decorating porches and doorsteps all over the United States, a sign that Halloween is on its way. The gourd-like fruit is actually a member of the squash family, typically round, smooth, with ribbed skin and most often orange in color. Pumpkins are harvested in the fall, meaning fresh, inexpensive pumpkins are the perfect seasonal addition to your diet. On top of that, they are packed with healthy benefits, that until now, you may have been unaware.
Pumpkin pie and pumpkin spiced latte you may be familiar with, but have you ever tired pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread or pumpkin risotto? No? Well now is the time to try the delectable pumpkin in its many configurations. The pumpkin, while delicious, is also loaded with powerful benefits from vision help, to weight loss, to heart health, and more. Come explore the health benefits of pumpkins here and consider adding the fruit and its seeds to your diet.
The color should be your first clue, like the carrot, pumpkins are filled with Beta-Carotene, which your body converts to Vitamin A, crucial for your vision, especially when the lights are low. A single cup of cooked pumpkins has more than 200 percent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A.
Less Wrinkles, Cancer Prevention
In addition to Beta-Carotene, pumpkins have an assortment of carotenoids, which neutralize free radicals, keeping skin from damage and wrinkles. In addition, these amazing antioxidant carotenoids are believed to play a role in cancer prevention. On top of that, the plant sterols in pumpkin seeds have been proven to keep certain cancers at bay.
Both pumpkin and pumpkin seeds contain the amino-acid tryptophan, which your body converts to serotonin, the mood enhancer and happiness producer. This means, a serving of pumpkin or roasted pumpkins seeds offers the promise of a brighter outlook.
Pumpkins contain a solid measure of Vitamin C which has long been thought to keep colds away. A single cup of pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams of Vitamin C (20 percent of recommended daily allowance for women and 15 percent of the daily allowance recommended for men).
Increase Heart Health
The potassium in pumpkins is more than enough to balance your sodium intake, which in turn lowers your blood pressure. On top of that, pumpkins are rich in phytosterols, proven to reduce LDL (the bad cholesterol).
Along with calcium, zinc is known to be critical to strong bones. Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, containing more than most foods, and keeping your bones strong.
Though you may reach for a banana for workout recovery, you might want to try a cup of cooked pumpkin which has more of nature’s refueling potassium. The potassium restores balance after a workout with electrolytes to keep muscles functioning at their highest levels.
Pumpkins, with three grams of fiber per serving and only 49 calories, are a great low calorie option to keep you feeling full longer. In turn, high fiber diets have been shown to help people eat less and lose weight.
Slow Down Aging and Feel Better
Pumpkins seeds contain a wide variety and range of anti-oxidants which slows oxidation and therefore aging. In addition, these delectable little seeds offer a wide range of minerals – zinc, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium, all known to improve your body’s ability to function at optimum levels.