If you’ve always thought of pumpkins as a holiday staple either for carving at Halloween or around Thanksgiving, think again. Adopt the health benefits of pumpkin for your year-round meals and watch your quality of life improve. The orange vegetable is packed with minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients making them ideal for consumption for every member of your family, old or young. You can eat the entire vegetable complete with the rind and seeds that are also rich in nutrients but surprisingly low in calories.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Strengthens Your Heart
The antioxidants present in pumpkins are great for lowering the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood. As a result, you avoid the buildup of plaque on your artery walls and lower the risk of hypertension and the strokes that can result from blood clots. Pumpkins also contain a generous amount of potassium that helps balance out the levels of sodium in your body. The vitamin C and fiber content in pumpkins can also help keep your heart muscles strong.
Improves Resistance Against Diseases
Pumpkins can keep your body protected from the molecules of free radicals produced during metabolism thanks the antioxidants like beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene they contain. These antioxidants neutralize the oxidative stress and damage free radicals can cause to your cells. Oxidative stress has been known to result in long-term illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
Further, the beta-carotene in pumpkins converts into vitamin A that fortifies your body so it can resist infections caused by pathogens. Pumpkins can provide you with a high dosage of vitamin C that helps in the production of white blood cells (WBCs). Not only do the WBCs help in the speedy healing of injuries but they also boost your immunity.
Lowers the Risk of Cancer
The lycopene, a kind of beta-carotene in pumpkins can do more than help you resist diseases, it can also help you resist various forms of cancer. These form can include throat, stomach, breast, pancreas, prostate, and colon cancers. Given that free radicals cause cancer, pumpkins can prevent them from stimulating the cancer cells into multiplying rapidly.
Reverses Signs of Aging for Younger-Looking Skin
The health benefits of pumpkin extend to protecting your skin against the harmful effects of the sun and preventing signs of aging. Vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and other antioxidants create a protective layer in your skin. And, vitamin C boosts the formation of collagen that keeps away fine lines and wrinkles. Eating pumpkin has several positive effects on your skin, but you can also make a mask with it to exfoliate and soothe your skin.
The main reason for your vision weakening as you age is a deficiency of vitamin A. Pumpkins can help you cover that deficiency by providing you with the nutrients your body need to make the vitamin A it needs. Other antioxidants and elements like beta-carotene, vitamins C and E have also been known to keep your eyes healthy and prevent degeneration due to aging. The zeaxanthin and lutein help prevent the formation of cataracts which is common among the elderly.
Helps to Control Blood Glucose Levels
Diabetics may find that including pumpkin in their daily diet helps them keep their blood glucose levels in check. Both the pulp and the seeds help improve insulin levels and the body’s response to the hormone. By eating more of pumpkin, you stimulate your intestines and tissues to absorb glucose. Thus, you lower the ill effects of Type 2 diabetes.
Helps in Your Weight Loss Efforts
Use the health benefits of pumpkin to help you lose weight. The high amount of fiber in pumpkins slows down digestion. And, helps you feel full for a longer while after a meal. By eating a cup of pumpkin, you can get adequate fiber that is equivalent to two slices of whole wheat bread. The vegetable also contributes water to your diet to keep your body hydrated.
Add pumpkin to your diet in any form including soups, stews, salads, breads, or any other and reap the entire range of health benefits of the vegetable.