Pumpkin has a range of fantastic health benefits, including being one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It also gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color. The body converts any ingested beta-carotene into vitamin A.
Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration.
Many studies have suggested that eating more plant foods such as pumpkin decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality. It can also help prevent diabetes and heart disease, and promote a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and a healthful body mass index (BMI).
Pumpkins are also a powerful source of fiber.
They have demonstrated the following health benefits.
Regulating Blood Pressure
Eating pumpkin is good for the heart. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health.
Studies suggests that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure. Decreasing sodium intake involves eating meals that contain little or no salt.
Increased potassium intake is also associated with a reduce the risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, and preservation of bone mineral density.
Reducing the risk of cancer
Research has suggested a positive relationship between a diet rich in beta-carotene and a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Beta-carotene has also been shown to hold back the development of colon cancer in some of the Japanese population.
Pumpkins contain a wealth of antioxidants. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.
A cross-sectional study of older African-American women showed that eating 3 or more fruit servings per day was associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration. It also led to slower progression of the disease.
Pumpkin helps to control diabetes.
The plant compounds in pumpkin seed and pulp are excellent for helping the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines, as well as balancing levels of liver glucose. They may be associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, but this effect is not consistently demonstrated. However, the compounds have such an impact that researchers suggest that they could be reworked into an anti-diabetic medication, though further studies are needed.
Daily fiber content
Pumpkins are a fantastic source of fiber. People in the United States (U.S.) do not consume enough fiber, with an average daily intake of just 15 g. The recommended daily fiber intake of is between 25 and 30 g.
Fiber slows the rate of sugar absorption into the blood, as well as promoting regular bowel movements and smooth digestion. A healthful fiber intake can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
With nearly 3 grams (g) of fiber in cooked, fresh pumpkin and over 7 g in canned pumpkin, adding a serving of pumpkin to the daily diet can help supplement the fiber shortage in the average American diet.
Pumpkin can protect immunity.
Pumpkin pulp and seeds are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene. These offer a boost to the immune system using a powerful combination of nutrients.
Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A. This triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains:
• 1.76 g of protein
• 2.7 g of fiber
• 49 calories
• 0.17 g of fat
• 0 g of cholesterol
• 12.01 g of carbohydrate
This amount of pumpkin also provides:
• more than 200 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A
• nineteen percent of the RDA of vitamin C
• ten percent or more of the RDA of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese
• at least 5 percent of thiamin, B-6, folate , pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus
Preparing fresh pumpkin at home will deliver the most benefits for your health, but canned pumpkin is also a great choice. Pumpkin retains many of its health benefits it the canning process.
Steer clear of canned pumpkin pie mix. This is usually placed next to the canned pumpkin in grocery stores, and is sold in a similar can. It contains added sugars and syrups.
Canned pumpkin should have only one ingredient: Pumpkin.