Fun fact: The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds
Known for its delicious taste and inviting yellow or orange color, pumpkin has become one of the widely cultivated vegetables. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which is consumed by many for its flesh and seeds. Pumpkins may vary in color and size, but all contain loads of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that our body needs.
Pumpkin is among the vegetables with the lowest number of calories. According to the United States Department of Agriculture that pumpkin has only 26 calories for every 100 grams. Plus, it has zero fat and cholesterol, the reason why it is beneficial if your are watching your weight and trying to control your cholesterol intake.
This vegetable, however, holds good amount of carbohydrates and protein producing energy used by the body organs for proper functioning. One hundred grams (100g) of pumpkin contain a significant amount of dietary fiber that helps make you feel full faster and longer.
Pumpkin is substantially rich in potassium. This phytonutrient is necessary for heart muscle and nerve impulse function. Potassium also promotes fluid balance in the body by offsetting the excess and harmful effect of sodium we get from the food we eat.
Aside from potassium, it is also an excellent source of minerals like copper (14% of the daily-recommended allowance), iron (10% DRA), and phosphorus (5% DRA). Copper is essential in iron metabolism as well as in the production of hemoglobin. Ten percent RDA of iron is involved in the transport of oxygen from lungs to the different parts of the body. Phosphorus is likewise needed in energy metabolism as well as in strengthening bones and teeth.
The numerous vitamins present in pumpkin have also contributed to the value of pumpkin as one of the healthiest vegetables. The vitamin B complex is essential for the metabolism of energy. It consists of 4% DRI of Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2) 8.5% DRA, 4% DRA of Niacin (B3), 6% DRA of Pantothenic acid (B5), 5% DRA of Pyridoxine (B6), and Folates (B9) at 4% DRA.
Foods high with Riboflavin or vitamin B2, just like pumpkin, helps obtain normal and healthy vision and skin. It likewise assists in the build-up of body tissues. Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 is important for synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein,
Pumpkin has become a go-to by many people, especially when feeding children, because of its delicious taste and excellent nutritional value.
The Important Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Low in Calories
Pumpkin is one of the fruits that contain the lowest amount of calorie. This is why nutritionist highly recommends this fruit because it is not only very nutritious but also regulates calorie intake of the body. Calorie-conscious people should associate pumpkin in their daily diet because even if it is low in calories it gives the body sufficient energy for it to become fit for daily functioning. Dieticians always advise to eat pumpkin on a daily basis.
Maintains Clear Vision
Pumpkin is very rich in Vitamin A that it fills up the body’s Vitamin A requirement up to more than 200%. Pumpkin’s properties are highly beneficial to the health of the eyes. Eating pumpkin will keep your vision clear even as you age. National Institute of Health concluded that Vitamin A maintains a clear vision even in the dark. It is also found that Vitamin A slows down the deterioration in the retinas. If retinal function is compromised, it can lead to blindness.
Pumpkin is also rich in fiber which can make you feel full for quite a while. This is why for those who want to lose weight pumpkin is one of the vegetables that are very effective in regulating weight. Associating this vegetable in your diet plan is a wise move because it will surely be of great help.
Beautifies the Skin
Pumpkin has beta-carotene that protects the skin from the harsh effects of UV rays. This will make your skin look younger and glowing even as you age. Sun exposure can cause your skin to look dull and uneven so make sure to eat pumpkin regularly for a fairer, more beautiful and nourished skin.
Boosts the Immune System
A strong immune system improves the body’s ability to fight off bacteria and irregularities that can lead to sickness. Its Vitamin A content makes this vegetable very useful to the body when it comes to fighting bacterial and fungal infections that causes cough, flu, cold, skin issues, etc. If you have a strong immune system, you will less likely suffer from sickness especially the common ones.
Reduces Risks of Cancer
Cancer is now one of the most popular causes of death. Fighting cancer is a very big challenge because even in the advancement of today’s technology, there is still no effective remedy that cures cancer. Pumpkin has various antioxidants that repair the body on a cellular level. These antioxidants maintain the healthy condition of the cells and repair damage, if any. Vitamin A and C works together in eliminating free radicals and their damaging effects in the body. Free radicals are the primary cause of cancer and various more diseases.
Prevents and Treats Diabetes
Studies proved that pumpkin has the ability to regulate glucose levels in the blood as well as in stabilizing the blood’s sugar tolerance. Pumpkin also supports the production of insulin in the body. If you are a diabetic, it is important to regularly eat pumpkin. If you want to avoid diabetes, regular consumption of pumpkin may be of great help.
Improves Prostate Health
Because pumpkin is high in Zinc content it has been proved that it is good for the condition of the prostate. Studies also concluded that the seed extracts of the pumpkin treat benign prostate hyperplasia or what they commonly call an enlarged prostate. Eating pumpkin will keep your prostate healthy and reduces risks of having prostate cancer.
Helps you Sleep Properly
Sleeping disorders became very common these days. There are many reasons why people encounter sleeping problems. Fortunately, eating pumpkin helps in giving you quality sleeping and resting time because of its tryptophan compound that is responsible in converting serotonin to melatonin which is commonly known as the sleeping hormone. If you eat pumpkin for dinner, it will help you go to sleep easily. This is good news for those who have a hard time getting a restful sleep or those who suffer from sleeping disorders such as insomnia.
Smoothens the Digestive Process
Eating fibrous food is very essential for the overall condition of the body. Fiber plays vital role especially in the process of digestion. This assures the proper breakdown of food intake and also assures that food is digested and wasted accordingly. Proper breakdown of food allows the body to absorb as much nutrients from food you eat. Eating fibrous foods also prevents digestive issues such as constipation. Plus it is also essential in regulating weight through stabilizing bowel movement.
Rich in Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is also a primary cause of diseases and illnesses particularly heart-related irregularities. Pumpkin has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that are extremely useful in avoiding heart-ailments as well as arthritis.