Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbits family. Even though pumpkin is commonly viewed as a vegetable, it is scientifically a fruit since it contains seeds. But it is nutritionally more similar to vegetables than fruits.
Besides its delicious taste, there are plenty of benefits of pumpkin as well. Let us have a look into those interesting and amazing benefits of pumpkin
Benefits Of Pumpkin
1. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Blood Pressure
Pumpkin is rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C and is low in sodium. These are all the elements that contribute towards maintaining healthy blood pressure. If consumed according to a proper diet, pumpkin can help you regulate your blood pressure and keep it stable.
2. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Digestion
There are different kinds of fibers in pumpkin. One of those is insoluble fiber which supports healthy digestion and can keep your trips to the bathroom regular. Apart from this, zinc is found in pumpkin seeds. Zinc is a digestion booster, so it helps enzymes involved in digestive processes work smoothly.
3. Benefits Of Pumpkin For EyeSight
One cup of pumpkin gives you 200% of your recommended daily vitamin A intake. If you get it right, your eyes will thank you. Vitamin A helps you in having healthy eyes and seeing more clearly, particularly in low-light conditions. Therefore, eating pumpkins regularly sharpens our eyesight.
4. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Healthy Aging
One of the benefits of pumpkin is that it keeps your immunity boosted and reduces skin aging. In addition to helping your body fight off the common cold, the antioxidants in pumpkin will also help your body ward off all kinds of damage made by free radicals. As a result, you will have a better chance of avoiding chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.
The antioxidant power of beta carotene in pumpkins works to combat the effects of aging on the skin. It also helps ease inflammation, which keeps your skin and your body happier. Therefore, pumpkin makes you look good.
5. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Healthy Cholesterol
Pumpkin contains two types of fiber
- soluble fiber
- insoluble fiber
Soluble fiber essentially acts like a sponge, mopping up harmful LDL cholesterol. Research shows that the accumulation of too much bad cholesterol on artery walls can decrease blood flow and increase the risk of heart disease.
6. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Boosting Immunity
Pumpkin is loaded with plenty of nutrients that boost your immune system. It contains beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to strengthen your immune system and help fight against infections. It is also rich in vitamins C and E, which are important antioxidants for repairing cells of our body from damage. Therefore, eating pumpkin boosts immunity.
7. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Losing Weight
Pumpkin is a great food for controlling weight because pumpkin as fewer caloroes as compared to other food items. Pumpkin has a very good fiber content and hence can be a good substitue for high calorie foods.
In the spirit of making more of your meals produce-based, eating pumpkin is an easy one to put into practice. One cup of canned pumpkin provides 83 calories. Therefore it can be included into the daily and can be a substitute for high calorie foods.
8. Pumpkin Keeps You Energized
The fiber content of the pumpkin will fill you up, help stabilize blood sugar and keep your energy up throughout the day. This is one of the best benefits of pumpkin. Therefore, eating pumpkins will give us a lot of energy.
9. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Sound Sleep
Pumpkin seeds have tryptophan, an amino acid that helps in making a chemical called serotonin. In addition to keeping you happy, serotonin also plays a key role in promoting good sleep. Therefore, eating pumpkins regularly helps you get rid of irregular sleep schedules. For people suffering from insomnia, this is one of the golden benefits of pumpkin.
10. Benefits Of Pumpkin For Hypertension
As we know, a pumpkin supports maintaining healthy blood pressure, which indirectly means that it controls hypertension. Pumpkin contains potassium which is known for controlling blood pressure. Potassium also helps with bone health and decreases the risk for diabetes. Around 10% of your daily potassium is found in just a half-cup serving of canned pumpkin. Therefore, eating pumpkins helps in controlling hypertension.
11. Benefits OF Pumpkin For Post-Workout Recovery
One of the essential benefits of pumpkin seeds is that they support post-workout recovery. Whether you are topping them on a salad or stirring them into yogurt, pumpkin seeds are great to incorporate after a workout. Pumpkin seeds provide zinc and protein, two nutrients important for recovery. It is better to eat them within 45 minutes of working out as a part of a well-balanced snack or meal.
Though there are countless benefits of pumpkin, including pumpkin in your diet can be a little controversial. It is advised to consult a dietician to include pumpkins into your diet in safe proportions. Furthermore, there are also many easy ways to include pumpkin in a few regular dishes.
3 Ways You Can Eat A Pumpkin
You need to eat the pumpkin flesh and seeds, but not the rind. Roast a pumpkin in a microwave for 45 minutes at 350⁰. For roasting it, aplit the pumkin and remove the seeds. Next, apply considerate amount of oil as well as salt, and place it with the flesh down in the microwave.
1. Pumpkin Puree
You can buy cans of pumpkin puree available in grocery stores, or you could also make it at home. Although canned and homemade puree can have pros and cons of their own. Pumpkin puree can be used in many dishes for a healthy twist.
2. Pumpkin Seeds As A Healthy Snack
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. They pack a combo of 6 grams fiber and 7 grams protein per 1.5-ounce pack, making them a great snack for kids and adults. Pumpkin seeds may be small, but they are loaded with numerous nutrients. Consuming small amounts of pumpkin seeds can fill in the required amount of vitamins and nutrients for the day.
It is best to extract pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin yourself than to buy pumpkin seeds from the market. The seeds available in the market contains a lot of unhealthy amount of salt and preservatives.
To extract seeds from the pumpkin, you nedd to first take the seeds out of the pumpkin manually. Once you have taken them out of the pumpkin, you need to rinse them in water, then roast them in the microwave at 350⁰. Just beware of pumpkin spice treats because they tend to be overly sweetened and devoid of real pumpkin.
3. Other Ways To Eat A Pumpkin
- Adding In Smoothies: A bit of pumpkin puree adds a nutrient boost to your morning smoothie. Mix warm fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg with some almond butter for the ultimate fall treat.
- To Make A Curry: Mix some pumpkin with warming ingredients like ginger and coconut milk to enjoy on a chilly fall day. Click here for the recipe.
- Combining With Pancakes: You can add a little bit of pumpkin puree to your favorite pancake recipe for richness in both color and flavor. Just add it to the batter and mix it up gently.
- To Make Oatmeal: Mix pumpkin puree into oats with chia seeds to make pumpkin overnight oats. Click here to find out the recipe.
- To Make A Yogurt Treat: If you like the taste of pumpkin puree, mix a bit of that with plain greek yogurt, honey, and chocolate chips for a new blend of flavors.
How To Select Pumpkin?
When you hear the word “pumpkin,” you might think of the big orange-colored pumpkins from a pumpkin patch. Those are great for carving and decorating your front porch, but they are not the ones you will want to eat.
For that, look for smaller pumpkins at the grocery store or farmers’ market labeled “sugar” or “pie,” They are smaller and sweeter than carving pumpkins. A few examples of varieties include Sugar Pie and Baby Pam.
- You will want to choose a pumpkin that does not have any soft spots or bruises as those indicate rotting.
- When choosing the right pumpkin, look for a dried-out stem [and avoid it], so you know it will not fall off or start to rot.
- While you probably will not see pie pumpkins in stores much bigger or smaller, 4 to 8 pounds is desirable, so you have tender flesh.
- You will also find canned pumpkin puree at the grocery store. Pure pumpkin puree will offer the authentic health benefits of pumpkin, but be sure to check the ingredient label before buying.
- Be very mindful while selecting pumpkin puree, as it sits right next to the pumpkin pie filling that contains some added sugars. It should just be the pumpkin itself. Many purees incorporate puree of sweet potatoes or butternut squash too.
What Are The Different Varieties Of Pumpkins?
All pumpkins might look the same upon first glance at the pumpkin patch, but there are a few things to look out for. Farmers and grocers will label pumpkins as ‘sugar’ or ‘pie’ when they are the smaller, sweeter varieties better for cooking.
Some names you might find are Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Cinderella, and Fairy Tale. While it is possible to find over 70 different pumpkin varieties, these are the 10 major kinds to look out for a while buying one.
- JACK BE LITTLE: These miniature small pumpkins are the ones you usually find at Thanksgiving tables. You can even use them as soup bowls or to make desserts like pies.
- Jarrahdale: These Australian heirlooms err on the greenish-blue side, but that does not make them any less flavorful. They are nearly stringless in texture, making them easy to cut into and eat.
- Baby Boo: These perfectly shaped white pumpkins are palm-sized, with a soft center.
- Fairy Tale: Also known as musquee de Provence, this is a French heirloom with a deep orange flesh suitable for puree.
- Cotton Candy: The name says it all! This incredibly sweet pumpkin is ideal for any dessert.
- Rouge Vif D’etampes: This French heirloom is vivid red and a showpiece pumpkin if there ever was one. Its stunning taste and color make it versatile.
- Hybrid Pam: Hybrid pam looks like a cross between butternut squash and a jack o’ lantern. It has firmer flesh, which makes it great for pies as well as roasting.
- Cinderella: These huge pumpkins are named after the carriage in the most popular classic movie “CINDERELLA.” They are more used for carving than eating.
- Black Futsu: This is a rare Japanese heirloom with unforgettable bumpy black skin. Do not let the exterior fool you, though, because some irresistibly sweet flesh lies just underneath.
Pumpkin is a very versatile ingredient for dishes and very healthy for a supplement. Though there are many more benefits of pumpkins, a handful of these benefits are mentioned proving that pumpkins are a requirement in our regular diet. Steering you away from many major health-related problems, pumpkin is a very delicious ingredient well.
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