Did you know the pumpkin is a superfood packed with so many health benefits? Well, what are superfoods? These are foods- mostly plant-based but some are fish and dairy- that offer health benefits resulting from an exceptional nutrient density. They do so while but have a very low calorie count. Raw pumpkin only has 15 calories per ½ cup and when cooked it has 49. Pumpkin is relatively low in calories as it is 94% water. While commonly viewed as a vegetable, it is a fruit as it contains seeds.
Great Health Benefits – Powerful Antioxidant
This variety of squash provides a wide range of benefits. These seeds are edible, highly nutritious and have been linked to numerous benefits for your health. The leaves and juices are also full of health benefits. There are many ways to incorporate pumpkin recipe into desserts, salads, soups, preserves and as a substitute for butter. Let us look at its impressive nutrient profile.
Highly nutritious and especially rich in vitamin A. it contains 245% of the Reference Daily Intake(RDI) of vitamin A. it is one of the best known sources of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts to vitamin A. This powerful antioxidant gives vegetables and fruits their vibrant colour. This antioxidant helps the body to reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers, offers protection against asthma and heart disease. It also reduces the risk of age related macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes vision loss. It also prevents the formation of cataracts, a common cause of blindness.
Other antioxidants found in pumpkins are, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. They neutralize free radicals and stop them from destroying cells. The body’s metabolic process produces these free radicals. These free radicals create a state called oxidative stress. It has been linked to chronic illnesses like cancers and heart disease. Though they are highly unstable, they have a useful role, destroying harmful bacteria. These antioxidants also protect the skin against sun damage.
Regulate Blood Pressure
They help regulate blood pressure. The fiber, vitamin C and potassium all promote heart health. Consuming enough potassium works as well as reducing the sodium in the treatment of high blood pressure (HBP). High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Consuming more potassium also reduces the chances of getting other types of Cardiovascular Disease.
Preventing and Control of Diabetes
Aid in preventing and control of diabetes. Pumpkin polysaccharides bring down sugar levels. Even though this requires further research, an antidiabetic medication may be well underway. This holds some hope for these compounds to limit the type 2 diabetes in diabetics.
Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer
Being a fantastic source of fiber, offers so many benefits. It slows the rate of sugar absorption. It regulates bowel movements while smoothing and slowing digestion. This helps you feel fuller for longer. Due to this attribute, it might also have an impact on weight loss promotion. It is a nutrient dense food. You can consume more of pumpkins than other carb sources such as rice and potatoes- but take in fewer calories. Increase your daily intake of fiber to reduce risk of colon cancer.
Boost Your Immunity
The beta-carotene converted into vitamin A is very crucial. A deficiency in the said vitamin can cause one to have a weaker immune system compared to those who take more vitamin A. It helps fight infections. The vitamin C on the other hand, aids in white blood cell production. It assists the immune cells work more efficiently. The wounds heal faster as well.
Other Health Benefits Include
Prostate cancer is becoming quite rampant. Pumpkins boost prostrate health due to the zinc they contain. Most cancerous prostrates contain less zinc than healthy ones.
Other essential vitamins and minerals offered include, pantothenic acid, niacin, copper, vitamin B6, folate, riboflavin, iron etc. pumpkins are clearly underrated. Try to incorporate it into your diet.
Some people may experience allergic reactions after eating pumpkins.
Pumpkins are diuretic. Over eating, pumpkins may cause an increase in the amount of salts and water expelled by the body through urine. People taking medicines such as lithium should observe how much they eat. Lithium interferes with the regulation of sodium and water levels in the body and can cause dehydration. Diuretics can cause failure of the body to remove lithium causing serious side effects.
Canned pumpkin retains most of its benefits during the canning process. Thereby, do not be limited by unavailability of fresh pumpkin. Pumpkin based junk food is quite unhealthy as it contains a lot of sugar.