9 Powerful Benefits of Pumpkin
Eat all the pumpkin this season—it’s packed with healing nutrients!
Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, a fat-soluble vitamin that is converted in our bodies into vitamin A. A diet rich in beta-carotene has been shown to prevent cancer, protect skin from the sun and alleviate inflammation.
Pumpkin is especially beneficial for our hearts as it's contains potassium, vitamin C and vitamin E. Potassium helps to reduce blood pressure and vitamins C and E are potent antioxidants shown to reduce inflammation associated with heart disease.
Pumpkin is a good source of fiber—7 grams of fiber per cup! Most Americans get less than half the amount of fiber needed in a day (25-35 grams recommended per day), so pack on the pumpkin to bump up fiber intake. Fiber is important for fostering a healthy gut, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, alleviate depression and improve immunity.
Have you heard of a pumpkin facial? There’s a reason estheticians are using this superfood topically—for its high antioxidant content and skin healing benefits! It's high vitamin C and vitamin E content can create glowing skin.
Don’t forget the seeds! While pumpkin puree and whole pumpkins are typically found during the fall months, pumpkin seeds can be found all year long and they provide lots of health benefits too. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, a mineral that plays several roles in the body—supporting growth and development, strengthening the immune system and healing wounds. The daily recommended intake of zinc for men and women over 19 years is 11 and 8, respectively. Pumpkin seeds provide a whopping 3 milligrams of zinc per ounce!
Nutrient-dense pumpkin seeds are high in other minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and copper—all essential nutrients for bone health.
Pumpkin seeds contain several forms of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant shown to prevent heart disease and promote skin health.
Recent preliminary studies have found some evidence that pumpkin seeds in various forms may improve insulin regulation and prevent kidney dysfunction in diabetes.
Pumpkin seeds are high in lignans, which are polyphenols (plant-based compounds) that have been shown to prevent cancer, heart disease and lower cholesterol.
Add pumpkin seeds to stir fries, salads, sandwiches or snack on them as a part of a homemade trail mix!
Nutrition tip for eating pumpkin: Enhance the beta carotene absorption by eating pumpkin with a plant-based fat source such a nuts or avocado since beta carotene is better absorbed with fat (being a fat-soluble vitamin). Cooking pumpkin also helps to increase the bioavailability of beta carotene.
What's your favorite way to eat pumpkin?