Pumpkin is a delicious vegetable that is packed with hundreds of nutrients like vitamins, mineral, fiber, water, and essential antioxidants that comes with a good number of health benefits like preventing inflammatory diseases to keeping your kidneys healthy and maintaining a proper movement of the urinary tract.
What is all about pumpkin?
Pumpkin is a sweet, ripe, fleshy, delicious, portion of healthy plant food, much similar to winter squash that is mostly orange to yellowish in color. Their sizes and shapes vary according to the species. Pumpkin has various medicinal uses, its oil and seeds that are edible enough are also used for medical purposes. Pumpkin can be of several varieties such as:
- Jack-o’-lantern: a large variety mostly used to scoop and curve
- Pie pumpkins: a smaller, sweeter variety
- Miniature: used for decoration but also edible
- White: used for decoration but can be cooked
- Giant: technically made; though edible, but not as tasty as other varieties.
The essential nutrients present in pumpkin are listed below:
One cup of a small pumpkin or almost 245 grams contains: (1 Trusted Source)
Pumpkin Health Benefits
1. Packed With Nutrients:
- Calories: 49
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Copper: 11% of the RDI
- Manganese: 11% of the RDI
- Iron: 8% of the RDI
And contain small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, and Vitamin B Complex. Apart from the sweet flesh, the pumpkin seeds are also edible. Almost 1 ounce or 15 grams of pumpkin seeds consist of the following nutrients:
- Calories: 86
- Fat: 7 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Copper: 21% of the DV
- Zinc: 10% of the DV
- Magnesium: 20% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 14% of the DV
Besides, pumpkin is low in calories and rich in vitamins A, C, E, B complex, and antioxidants. It contains almost 94% of water and so experts suggest that pumpkin is one of the most ideal vegetables for losing weight and maintaining a low-calorie diet.
2. Rich In Antioxidants:
Apart from these, pumpkins are highly rich in antioxidants like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These essential antioxidant extracts in pumpkin are absorbed by the body and are more effective in combating harmful bacteria and preventing infections.
The elevated levels of antioxidants in the fleshy extracts of pumpkin help to prevent oxidative stress, particularly among aged individuals by fighting against the disease-causing free radicals that are often responsible for causing inflammation and harmful diseases like cancer. Studies reveal, people have developed proper immunity and have reduced the risk of developing cancer, abnormal cell growth, or related diseases from oxidative stress by significant proportions after having pumpkin in their diet regularly. Moreover, antioxidants in pumpkin help to protect your skin against sun damage and maintain your overall health, along with protecting your eyes. (2 Trusted Source)
3. Boosts Up Your Immunity:
Pumpkin extracts contain high levels of vitamins A, C, E, and B complex, which has been reportedly found to reduce the chances of diseases in your body by boosting up your immune system. Dieticians say that the beta-carotene, along with lutein and zeaxanthin present in pumpkin turns into vitamin A within your body that is extremely useful to keep your eyes healthy and prevent any kind of vision problems like cataracts, macular degeneration, and chances of blindness, particularly in aged people (3 Trusted Source).
Pumpkin is also a rich source of essential nutrients like vitamin E, iron, and folate that are extremely beneficial for your health. All these nutrients have been found to promote the good maintenance of your immune system as well (5 Trusted Source).
4. Promotes Weight Loss:
Pumpkin is known to be a very weight-friendly vegetable that has an exceptional nutritional profile. It is often considered by experts as one of the most nutrient-dense foods. Almost one cup or 245 grams of pumpkin consists of profuse fiber that not only gives your body a sense of fullness but lowers down the total calorie intake of your body. The high amounts of dietary fiber present in pumpkin allow you to take a lower amount of your meal, by reducing your appetite.
5. Prevents Cancer:
Cancer is one of the most common diseases in today’s world that is characterized by abnormal growth of cells and body tissues that spread to different parts of your body leading to impairment of your organs. The rich source of antioxidants in the extracts of pumpkin helps to protect against certain cancers. A recent study has revealed that higher intakes of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene present in pumpkin have significantly lowered the risks of developing cancer cells in the stomach, pancreas, throat, breast, and other organs of your body. (6 Trusted Source)
6. Heart-Friendly Vegetable:
Pumpkin contains a large number of beneficial nutrients that can improve your heart health. It contains high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, compared to any other fruits or vegetables, which are found to have reduced the risks of cardiac disorders like heart attacks, high blood pressure, or heart failure. For example, recent experiments have shown that people who have regular pumpkins in their diets, have lower levels of blood pressure and they have reduced their chances of developing cardiac diseases by significant proportions (7 Trusted Source).
Pumpkin is also high in antioxidants that are proven to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and related malefic lipoproteins. When LDL cholesterol particles oxidize, they can clump along the walls of blood vessels, which can restrict your vessels and raise your risk of heart disease (8 Trusted Source).
7. Keeps Your Skin Healthy:
Pumpkins are considered powerhouses of nutrients that are great for your skin. The high amounts of antioxidants and carotenoids like beta-carotene, and vitamin A makes your skin look healthy and fresh. Besides, one cup (245 grams) of cooked pumpkin contains 245% of the RDI for vitamin A. Experiments reveal that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock. The rich carotenoids in pumpkin extracts are transported to several parts of your body and penetrate your skin. These substances help to prevent cell damage to your skin by protecting them from the harmful UV rays of the sun (9 Trusted Source).
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is an important component for healthy skin. This important ingredient is essentially required by the body to manufacture collagen, a protein pigment that keeps your skin young and healthy. The essential components like lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, and many more antioxidants present in pumpkin are reportedly proven to boost the defense capacity of your skin against UV rays (10 Trusted Source).
Who should avoid it?
Though pumpkin is considered as the powerhouse of essential nutrients, there are certain health concerns related to pumpkin.
Experts suggest that those with symptoms of food allergy should try to avoid having pumpkin regularly. It’s also considered mildly diuretic, which means eating a lot of pumpkins may induce a “water pill”-like reaction, increasing the amount of water and salt your body expels through urine (11 Trusted Source).
People who consume medicines containing lithium should give up having pumpkins daily to avoid serious side effects. Pumpkin is always known as a healthy vegetable, but many junk foods may contain pumpkin pulp — such as lattés candies and pie fillings. These fast foods are packed with added sugar. These tend to increase blood sugar levels, especially among diabetic people, leading to adverse effects on health.
Pumpkin is extremely beneficial for your health. It is not only a good source of powerful vitamins like A, C, E, and B but also provides high amounts of water, fiber, and essential antioxidants, to keep up your immune system, maintain your eye health, prevent cancer, protect your heart and make your skin look more natural. Though there are certain groups, who must avoid pumpkin, according to experts, it is advisable to include pumpkin in your diet today.
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