Pumpkin is a fruit that belongs to the cucurbita family. It comes in various shapes and sizes and packs an interesting flavour when you use it in your dishes. Let’s take a look at its health benefits and more below.
Nutritional Profile of Pumpkin
Is pumpkin good for health? Here’s a glimpse into its nutritional profile to understand what you get in a cup of cooked pumpkin.
|Nutrient||Amount (per cup of cooked pumpkin)|
|Vitamin A||245% of RDI|
|Vitamin C||19% of RDI|
|Vitamin B2||11% of RDI|
|Vitamin E||10% of RDI|
|Iron||8% of RDI|
|Potassium||16% of RDI|
Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin
There are numerous pumpkin benefits for skin, weight loss, and your overall well-being. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Although pumpkin is a fruit, it’s 94% water – this means it’s very low in calories!
If you’ve been trying to lose weight, adding some pumpkin to your diet will help. Since it is nutritionally dense, it also means you’ll be feeling nourished with fewer calories, thus packing on little to no pounds. This is one of the best advantages of pumpkin consumption.
2. Rich Source of Antioxidants
Your body produces free radicals to fight against stress, harmful bacteria, and other elements inside the body which lead to illnesses. However, the presence of too many free radicals in the body can lead to oxidative stress – a condition that is linked to cases like heart disease and cancer. Since pumpkin is high in antioxidants, it neutralises free radicals in your body, thus preventing oxidative stress.
There are a few studies done on humans and animals which show how a higher intake of antioxidants is linked to lower instances of eye illnesses, cancer, protection from sun damage, and other possible medical conditions. However, more research is required in those areas.
3. Boosts Immunity
Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, a nutrient known for boosting immunity. Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body which is used to strengthen your immune system. There’s also a high amount of Vitamin C in pumpkin which boosts your white blood cell production.
A higher white blood cell count means you’ll be less likely to fall sick from infections, heal wounds faster, and in general, stay a lot healthier. Besides Vitamin A and C, there is folate, Vitamin E and iron in pumpkin which play a role in building a strong immune system. Due to its nutrient profile and high-fibre content, there are pumpkin benefits for babies too, so feed them pumpkin puree!
4. Shields Your Eyesight
Macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts are common eye problems people face as they grow older. The good news is that eating a cup of cooked pumpkin is a good way of preventing them. Pumpkin contains two essential nutrients for maintaining healthy vision – lutein and zeaxanthin.
The high amounts of Vitamin A in pumpkin have also been shown to prevent blindness. Add to that the Vitamin C and E content and you’ve got a nutrient-dense food that protects your eye cells from free-radical damage.
5. Is Anti-ageing by Nature
Since pumpkin has high levels of vitamin C and various antioxidants, it protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Besides this, pumpkin juice for skin is known to boost collagen production, which plays a huge role in improving its texture, tone, and elasticity. More collagen in your body also means fewer wrinkles, fine lines, and more flawless looking skin. Collagen is synthesised from high levels of Vitamin C, and research proves that.
6. Protects Your Heart
Pumpkin is known to protect your heart by freeing up your arteries from any build-ups and plaque-deposits. One of the many white pumpkin juice benefits is that it reduces incidences of heart attacks and strokes. The high levels of antioxidants in pumpkin are known to prevent atherosclerosis, and pumpkin is also known to regulate blood pressure levels in the body. A regulated blood pressure also means your cholesterol levels are kept in check, which is something you definitely want.
7. It Flushes out Toxins
Amongst the many pumpkin juice benefits, one great one is that it naturally detoxifies your body and cleanses your internal organs. In fact, it is a natural diuretic, which means it helps your kidneys filter and function optimally. Yellow pumpkins are known to be a natural cure for peptic ulcers and they also provide relief to your gastrointestinal tract.
8. Beats Depression
When your body is lacking in a nutrient known as tryptophan, you’re more likely to be depressed. Pumpkin is naturally high in this, so if you’re stressed, you know what to eat! Besides that, high tryptophan levels in pumpkin are known to prevent insomnia and promote restful sleep.
9. Prevents Inflammation
Eating pumpkin on a regular basis is known to treat inflammation and prevent conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. If your muscles get inflamed a lot from hard workouts, you can help relieve or de-stress them by eating some cooked pumpkin.
10. Improves Prostate Health
Low levels of zinc and antioxidants are known to contribute to poor prostate health, and poor prostate health equals infertility and poor sexual performance. Pumpkin helps combat this and also prevents the enlargement of your prostate at the same time, giving you just what you want.
11. Protects Your Bone Health
Pumpkin has high levels of Vitamin K, a nutrient known for protecting your bone health. If you’ve been struggling to meet your recommended RDI for this nutrient, eating some cooked pumpkin will get you there.
Other Uses of Pumpkin for Everyday Life
Are you curious to know what you can do with a giant pumpkin? Here are the top uses of pumpkin in your everyday life.
1. Use It As a Pumpkin Planter
You can literally use your pumpkins as planters in which you can grow new plants. It not only looks fantastic, but it will also add a creative touch to your backyard. Simply scoop out the flesh and guts from the inside and fill up 1/3 of it with potting soil. Plant your seeds, set them up in the backyard, and watch new life spring into action. The pumpkin will also act as a natural compost and fertiliser for the plant, which is a win-win.
2. Make Pumpkin Puree
From desserts to pancakes, ice creams, sandwiches and salads, purees have a myriad of uses. If you’re tired of eating canned pumpkin puree, it’s time you make your very own fresh batch. Just cut the pumpkin and scoop out the edible flesh and seeds. Cook the cut pumpkin with a cup of water for 30 minutes until the flesh turns tender. Run this through a food processor, and your delicious puree is ready!
3. Beautify Yourself
You can use pureed pumpkin to make your skin glow or exfoliate it naturally. Just mix pumpkin puree with brown sugar and a bit of milk. Apply this on your skin, let it sit for a while, and rinse. The vitamins A, C, E, and zinc will seep in and naturally cleanse your skin. If you do this skincare regime every day, you’ll have flawless skin!
4. Halloween Treats
Want to make delicious Halloween treats for your kid’s party? Use pumpkin! To make a Halloween dessert, all you need is a vegetable peeler, water, a few spices, and brown sugar.
Start off by cutting up the pumpkin and removing the seeds and guts. Cut it up into bite-sized pieces and let it boil in water in a saucepan. Cover the lid and wait until the flesh softens a bit. Now, add in the spices (we recommend a mix of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and turmeric) with the brown sugar and boil until the sugar becomes a syrup. Remove this mix from the heat and let this mixture sit overnight so that the pumpkin bits have the time to soak it in. You could eat this fresh in the morning – just sprinkle some brown sugar or add some chocolate sauce, and your Halloween treat is ready!