Whether you use canned pumpkin or roast pumpkin seeds, you may be curious about the nutritional benefits and health benefits. Since it’s one of the highest sources of vitamin A and is rich in other antioxidants and nutrients like fiber, pumpkin can help support healthy skin and eyes, maintain good blood pressure and even the fight against certain types of cancer.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Is the pumpkin a vegetable or a fruit?
Although we usually think of pumpkins as vegetables (since they are a type of squash), they are technically fruits. Indeed, fruits are edible products from flowering plants bearing seeds. Botanically, a pumpkin is a winter squash cultivar that typically comes from the Cucurbita pepo or Cucurbita maxima plants. It is part of the Cucurbitaceae family, which means it is related to vegetables and fruits such as watermelon, zucchini and cucumber. More rarely, edible pumpkins also come from squash cultivars, including C. argyrosperma and C. moschata.
Not only can you eat the “flesh” of the pumpkin (the orange, smooth filling), but also the seeds and even the leaves and juices of the plant, which are packed with nutrients, including healthy fatty acids. The pumpkin is believed to have originated in North America, specifically northeastern Mexico and the southern United States. It is in fact one of the oldest domesticated plants. Native tribes in North America are thought to have cultivated them since at least 5,000 BC.
What are the benefits of eating pumpkin?
Here are five reasons to include pumpkin in your diet
1. Very high in vitamin A/beta-carotene and other antioxidants
According to a study devoted to the nutritional benefits of pumpkin, this type of squash “contains several phyto-constituents belonging to the categories of alkaloids, flavonoids and palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids. Various important medicinal properties including anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties have been well documented. Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid antioxidant that is responsible for the characteristic orange color of pumpkins. Beta-carotene is found in cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables and may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including colon and prostate cancer. Studies have shown that consuming products rich in vitamin A/beta-carotene may not only protect against cancer, but also protect vision, prevent macular degeneration, and support heart and neurological health. This is due to vitamin A’s ability to counter oxidative stress and free radical damage, which damage healthy cells and neurons.
Vitamin A is also thought to be a powerful regulator of adipose (fat) tissue development and therefore important for the prevention of obesity.
2. A good source of vitamins C and E
The vitamin C found in pumpkin can help protect cells and tissues from damage. In addition, it promotes the synthesis of collagen proteins, which form and strengthen the skin and other connective tissues. Vitamin C is also important for proper immune system function, cancer prevention, and neurological health. Another vitamin with antioxidant effects found in pumpkin is vitamin E. Diets high in vitamin E are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, hormonal problems like premenstrual syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and skin problems like acne and wrinkles. Vitamin E also appears to help prevent free radical damage and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including colorectal cancer and prostate cancer.
Pumpkin seeds are also sources of cancer-fighting compounds, which is why these seeds are used in folk medicine as a remedy for kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer, as well as other disorders such as erectile dysfunction. , for centuries. Like vitamin C and vitamin E, pumpkin seed oil made from the seeds can help defend against skin damage and slow-healing wounds through antioxidants, such as tocopherols, acids fat and phytosterols.
3. May Help Regulate Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Each one-cup serving of cooked pumpkin covers about 16% of your daily potassium needs. Potassium is an electrolyte that many adults lack in their diets, as it is mainly found in vegetables and fruits such as bananas, potatoes, squash and avocados. Consuming plenty of potassium has benefits such as reducing the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It counteracts the effects of sodium in your diet, which many people on the “standard Western diet” consume in excess, helping to prevent hypertension. Besides potassium, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds provide other nutrients that support cardiovascular health, including fiber and vitamin C. Fiber may support healthy cholesterol levels, while vitamin C protects against oxidative stress .
4. Provides fiber, which supports metabolic and gut health
Studies show that a diet high in plant foods, especially those high in antioxidants and fiber, helps reduce the risk of a number of chronic diseases, including metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes. type 2. Fiber contributes to intestinal health by promoting elimination and preventing constipation. They also “feed” healthy probiotic bacteria in the gut and help them grow, while helping to manage blood levels. Another benefit of a high-fiber diet is that it helps you feel full, which can make it easier for you to control your calorie intake and potentially manage your weight.
5. Provides manganese and copper
Adding pumpkin to your diet benefits bone health because the manganese helps defend against bone density loss and fractures. Additionally, manganese has anti-inflammatory properties and plays a role in cognitive, metabolic, and joint health. Copper is another mineral found in pumpkin that plays a number of roles in the formation of hemoglobin and collagen in the body. Copper also contributes to the synthesis of several enzymes and proteins involved in energy metabolism, DNA synthesis and respiration.
Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
There’s a lot to love about pumpkin nutrition, including the fact that this “fruit” is high in fiber, low in calories, virtually fat-free, and full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese and more. Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, are high in manganese, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, amino acids, and even antioxidants, like phenolics, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Even pumpkin rind contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can help fight disease. Additionally, pumpkin seed oil is created from this plant. It’s a thick oil pressed from roasted pumpkin seeds that’s high in beneficial fatty acids, like oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
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