Pumpkin (Kaddoo) is highly nutritious and loaded with natural edible nutrients and substances, which are highly beneficial for our health. It has natural medicinal properties to cure various types of diseases and health issue. Health benefits of pumpkin include fertility, immunity, eyesight, metabolism, blood pressure and cardiac health. Today in this post, we are going to discuss about various health benefits of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin is a vegetable of the squash group. According to US National Library of Medicine (NCBI), Pumpkin is loaded with anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and others medicinal properties.
Pumpkin is covered by a thick and smooth skin, and you get juicy pulp in the inside. The vegetable is used in various culinary ventures, and is certainly not just limited to Halloween. Pumpkins vary in colour, shape, size and weight. The weight of the pumpkin can vary from 4 kg to up to 25 kg.
Pumpkin is very beneficial for health
Pumpkin is rich source of Vitamin A, C, E and K. It is also a vegetable with an exceptionally low calories, so consuming this is advised by many dieticians and medical experts for weight management and also controlling of cholesterol.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked or boiled pumpkin may have following key nutrients:
- 49 calories
- 76 grams of protein
- 0 grams of cholesterol
- 17 grams of fat
- 12 grams of carbohydrate
- 7 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of sugar
Pumpkins are rich in minerals, vitamins, flavonoids, poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthenes, and carotenes.
If you are trying to lose weight, this vegetable can help you as it has 0 saturated fats. It is rich in alpha and beta carotenes, carotenes get converted into Vitamin A into the body.
Vitamin A helps in fighting visual weaknesses, lung and oral cavity cancer and also enhance brain functioning. It is also a good source of vitamins like folates, vitamin B-6, thiamine and pantothenic acid.
Surprising health benefits of pumpkin
Now that you know the nutritious value of this vegetable, you are certain that it has got hundreds of health benefits for you. Daily intake of pumpkins can improve your immunity, can prevent and fight many diseases and also have positive effects on overall mortality. Let us now dive in to know more benefits of this amazing vegetable.
Pumpkin is rich source of fiber, potassium and Vitamin C which make it expert in controlling high blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is the condition when the arteries hardened and the heart has to work harder for pumping the blood.
For smooth blood circulation, normal high pressure has to be maintained. The pumpkin can regulate the raised blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of certain fatal medical conditions like heart attacks and strokes.
Harvard Health Publications has published an article where the role played by pumpkin in fertility is mentioned in prominent figures. Vitamin A present in the pumpkins can help in synthesis of hormones and thus reduce complications which may appear during pregnancy. Women, who are planning to conceive, must have foods rich in iron, like pumpkins, spinach, beans, tomatoes etc.
Pumpkins can improve immunity saving you from many diseases. We use anti-virus software on our phone and computers to fight virus and malware. Similarly, the immune system in your body shields our body from different disease causing pathogens and bacteria.
The pumpkin has anti oxidants and fiber which can strengthen your immunity. Stronger immune system helps your body to fight various types of viral diseases like flu, allergies, infections etc.
Good for your vision
Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A which helps in better health of your eyes. It helps the retina to absorb and process more light. You can protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.
Pumpkins also ensure that the blood vessels are having proper blood circulation. As the pumpkins have the power to strengthen your immunity, you can also protect your eyes from severe infections like conjunctivitis and other such infections.
Overweight and obesity are the major causes of various diseases like cardiovascular problems or kidney problems. Excess amount of abdominal fat can cause serious havoc to your bodily functions.
Pumpkins can increase the Basal Metabolic rate of your body, leaving no scope for fat accumulation. Pumpkins can keep you hydrated and also make you feel fuller for longer hours.
Pumpkins are rich in tryptophan which helps the body to make serotonin or sleep hormone. Regular intake of pumpkins can improve the sleep quality and also cure insomnia or sleeplessness. You need at least 6-7 hours of sound sleep for better health.
According this study, which was conducted at Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, pointed out that a diet which is high in beta carotenes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Beta carotenes like higher plasma lycopene can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, as concluded by this study. Not just prostate cancer, pumpkins can prevent cell damage and also the free radicals which are the primary causes for various cancers like oral or lung even.
Health benefits of pumpkin seeds
If you are throwing away the pumpkin seeds thinking that they are useless, then it is high time that you consider keeping them or preserving them. Pumpkin seeds are edible and it’s equally nutritious and healthy. It has vitamin A, essential minerals like zinc and plenty of protein.
Pumpkin seeds are heart healthy and helps reduce LDL cholesterol. It’s rich in protein which is essential for a healthy body. Pumpkin seeds also help kill intestinal worms, and promote good sleep.
Here are some of the remarkable benefits of pumpkin seeds, which you may not be aware of;
The Vitamin A present in the pumpkin seeds help in the collagen production in your body. The collagen is the primary compound which can tighten the skin, lighten the skin tone and also flush out the toxins from the body. Skin tone is often darkened due to the presence of excessive unwanted toxins, so the pumpkin seeds help in making your skin younger and glowing. It can also protect your skin from sun tan and the harmful UV rays.
Get rid of intestinal worms
Pharmacist Debbie Edson in Living Well Magazine has said about the benefits of pumpkin seeds in reducing the intestinal parasites from your body. The tapeworms are often active in kids especially, so the pumpkin seeds can come in rescue here.
Good for heart
Pumpkin seeds have phytosterols which can fight against the bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can cause severe damages to your heart, like increase in blood pressure and high pulse rates, palpitations in the heart, thyroid, diabetes etc. The pumpkin and also the pumpkin seeds which are nuts basically, can help in normalizing the cholesterol in your body.
Elevate your mood
A handful of dried pumpkin seeds can make your mood cheerful and bright, thus it is a useful food for fighting mood disorders like bipolar syndromes, depression etc. The seeds produce serotonin and melatonin in the body, which are the happy hormones. The glucose level will increase in the blood, and your mood will be elevated.
How to eat pumpkin and pumpkin seeds
You can munch on the pumpkin seeds with some salt. The seeds are actually nuts like the almonds and peanuts. You can find them tasty and use them in desserts and other sweet dishes. You can cook, boil the pumpkins and eat them daily.
You can fry some juicy slices of pumpkins in olive oil, use some spices and curry leaves for some added taste. You can make pumpkin pies, cakes and desserts with pumpkins. You can also add these boiled vegetables in soups and salads.
There are various ways in which you can consume pumpkins. If you want then you can also make pakodas (fries) or fried pumpkin balls with some flour, gram flour or besan and salt. It will make a tasty snack, I can bet.
Over to you
Pumpkin and also the pumpkin seeds are very nutritious and healthy supplements for a healthy life. There are many health benefits of pumpkin; it prevents many health problems like:
- Prostate cancer
- Sleep disorders
- Eye health
- Heart health
You can include pumpkins in your daily diet starting from today. Do not waste any more time and say hello to this gorgeous vegetable which is a super food indeed.
Do you eat pumpkin? Share your experiences by commenting below.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.