Written by Laura Isherwood
Thought pumpkins were just for carving and placing a tea light in? You’re wrong. Pumpkins are highly nutritious and a great autumnal food. The flesh, seeds and the oil within the pumpkin all have health benefits.
Pumpkins have been found to aid weight loss due to the low amount of calories and carbohydrates. There doesn’t seem to be a logical reason as to why pumpkin should not be included in your diet. The pumpkin has a similar taste to the sweet potato, making it even more indulging. The vegetable also helps you feeling full for an extended period of time- preventing you from snacking! It has also been found to have a good amount of fibre too (3 grams per one cup serving).
Just like carrots, squash and sweet potatoes, pumping contains high levels of beta carotene and other carotenoids. These are responsible for the bright colouring. Beta carotene converts to Vitamin A when consumed, which is one of the most important nutrients for skin integrity, allowing skin to stay firm and resisting damage. The compound may help prevent free radical damage to our cells which can result in ageing due to the vegetable acting as an antioxidant.
The seeds and oil contain high levels of natural antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is especially high in gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E, a very powerful antioxidant. Research surrounding the compound suggests that it can reduce inflammation and protect against forms of cancer. In addition, research has found that it activates genes involved in preventing the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease.
Boost Your Mood
Feel a bit down in the dumps? Monday blues? Try a pumpkin-spiced latte, known to give you an energy boost with added extras. Full of magnesium, which is involved in brain chemistry reactions, which could reduce depression and anxiety.
We all hear the myth that carrots help you see in the dark. But is this the case for pumpkins? Due to the vegetable being full of beta carotene which is later converted in to Vitamin A and then retinol, eye health is improved. Providing the eyes with retinol allows more light to be seen, preventing degenerative eye diseases. Therefore, pumpkin helps to improve eye health and slow the decline of retinal function which can cause blindness.
Keeps Your Heart Pumping
High in fibre, both flesh and seeds may help to keep cholesterol levels in check. Whilst research has found that a high fibre diet can help lower blood pressure and potentially prevent heart disease. For maximum fibre, try chopping pumpkin into your cereal, or even try pumpkin seeds on your salad.
Due to the helpful servings of vitamin A and C, pumpkin can be the great way to sweep away those winter bugs. The nutrients are both vital elements to a strong immune system. Make a warm pumpkin soup, perfect winter warmer.