Page updated 18. January 2019.
First published on the 6th. November 2018.
When people talk about pumpkins, they may think of pumpkin lanterns and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but the benefits go far beyond simple Halloween decorations.
It’s an incredibly nutritious and versatile fruit (it’s not a vegetable, thanks to the seeds it contains), and it’s an excellent addition to your diet, especially in the fall, when it’s the most convenient time of year.
Pumpkin is a very low-calorie food; each cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains only 49 calories! This means that pumpkin can easily be fitted into a calorie-controlled diet and promote weight loss, while also providing plenty of nutrients.
Since fiber is a good source of dietary fiber, it can also help control your appetite: Fiber adds volume without adding calories, and it also absorbs water in the stomach, keeping you full longer during your diet.
Versatile and tasty
There are hundreds of recipes using pumpkin, from pumpkin soup to pumpkin pie (like in the Harry Potter books). It can be boiled, crushed or mashed, roasted or baked and used in both sweet and savory dishes.
If you want to buy canned pumpkin products, check the label first, as many brands have added sugar, which contains extra calories. Pumpkin seeds also make an excellent nutritious snack.
Often overlooked and discarded, jack-o’-lanterns are actually incredibly nutritious, and when prepared properly, can make a very tasty snack.
For best results, they should be peeled and dried fresh, mixed with flavourings (salt, etc.) and a little oil, then roasted in a preheated oven (gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C) for about 10 minutes. If it takes too long to clean the seeds, you can buy them in most supermarkets.
They are a good source of zinc and magnesium and a source of healthy unsaturated fats, including alpha-linolenic acid. The seeds also provide other often overlooked minerals such as phosphorus, manganese, copper and vitamin K.
The high fiber content of pumpkin pulp offers more benefits than just an appetite suppressant. It also helps keep digestion regular by preventing and helping treat constipation, and can also help maintain blood sugar levels. A high-fiber diet is also associated with a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Pumpkin contains a long list of antioxidants, including carotenoids. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals, which can cause a state of oxidative stress if left unchecked.
Many studies link high levels of carotenoids in the diet to a lower risk of developing certain cancers, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Keep in mind that the science is far from conclusive and not enough research has been done in the form of human studies to know the exact magnitude or scope of these health benefits.
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives pumpkin its bright color. Beta-carotene is also responsible for the color of other orange fruits and vegetables, especially carrots. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, an incredibly useful vitamin that the body needs daily to function perfectly.
Vitamin A is a bit of a superstar of nutrients because it plays many roles in the body.
Immunity plays an important role; people with vitamin A deficiency have a weaker immune system and are more susceptible to disease. By getting enough vitamin A, your body can fight infections and viruses.
Pumpkin also contains a reasonable amount of vitamin C, which is known to help fight colds, increase white blood cell production, speed up wound healing and boost overall immunity.
Pumpkin is a source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances that are associated with preventing vision deterioration in old age, particularly age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
A meta-analysis that examined the combined results of 22 studies associated a good intake of beta-carotene with a lower incidence of cataract, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
About the Author: Rachel Butler.
Rachel has been with us since we started in 2012.
Rachel has tested countless products over the years and written many articles with sound advice. Their professional opinion is widely respected.
Rachel holds a BSc in Clinical Sciences from the University of Leicester, UK.
She lives in York with her husband and her young daughter and their dog, a small terrier named Betsy.
Disclaimer : Our evaluations and surveys are based on extensive research using information that was publicly available to us and to consumers at the time the report was first published. The information is based on our personal opinion and while we make every effort to keep the information current, manufacturers occasionally make changes to their products and future research may not agree with our conclusions. If you believe that any information is incorrect, please contact us and we will verify the information.
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