Health Benefits Of Pumpkins
Pumpkins are packed with nutrients and vitamins. They have been proven to support your immune system, heart, and help you with weight loss. But the benefits don't stop there. Pumpkins can uplift your mood and keep you away from anxiety. Even smelling a pumpkin pie has the power to put you in a good mood.
Most of us think about pumpkins during the fall. Our minds are filled with the sweet smell of pumpkin pies and the lighting of jack-o’-lanterns. It’s time to think beyond that.
Pumpkins are chock full of the goodness of nutrients. And they are the perfect treat for a sweet tooth!
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
Here are 14 reasons why you need pumpkins throughout the year.
1. For Weight Loss
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you might want to add pumpkin to your diet. It’s rich in fiber, boosting 1.7 g in pumpkin seeds, 3 g in mashed pumpkin, and 7 g in canned pumpkin, all per cup. Fiber is just what your digestion needs to make things a lot smoother and a heavy dose of fiber every day can help with weight loss.1
Also, eating pumpkin makes you feel full for hours. The fruit has an impressive 91% water content to keep you hydrated and it’s low in calories as well – all tick marks for weight loss.
How To Eat Pumpkin For Weight Loss
- Snack on pumpkin seeds
- If you’re craving for something sweet, simply sprinkle a little cinnamon on your pumpkin (toss in a little almond if you want) and enjoy!
- Find interesting ways to sneak a little pumpkin into your food. Like pumpkin muffins or in a smoothie
Healthy Pumpkin Smoothie
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 frozen banana
- Unsweetened almond milk (vanilla if you prefer)
- Ice cubes
Simply add all the ingredients, blend, and enjoy!
2. For The Perfect Post-Workout Food
We know how powerful post-workout cravings can get. Instead of grabbing the first thing you see, reach out to pumpkins. After an intense workout, your potassium levels might take a hit. They get lost when you sweat a lot and it is important to bring this back to normal.2 Pumpkins, being high in potassium, replenishes the body with nutrients and electrolytes. So, you’re good for the rest of the day!
3. To Build Your Immunity Armor
Getting sick often? Struggling to recover from a nasty cold? You need pumpkin in your diet. From fighting against infections to keeping your bones strong, vitamin A has a truckload of responsibilities. And this particular vitamin is extremely high in pumpkin.
Vitamin C is another essential part of raising your immunity. One study found out vitamin C can help reduce the severity of a cold.3 Pumpkins are a rich source of vitamin C. In fact, one cup of canned pumpkin can give 20% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Pumpkins are also great sources of folic acid, manganese, and riboflavin – all essential for a healthy immune system. Are you grabbing that pumpkin, already? Try pumpkin soups for an easy (and yummy) way to get all those nutrients in your body.
Immune Booster Pumpkin Soup
- 1 pumpkin
- 1 onion
- 3 potatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper
- Chop the onion, potatoes, and pumpkin into fine pieces
- Apply butter on a saucepan and cook the onions first. Once onions are done, add the rest of the ingredients
- Pour water and let it cook. Now add salt and pepper as per your taste
- Once the veggies are done, grind them in a blender
- Get the mixture back into the saucepan and let it cook
- You could add a little milk if it’s too thick
- The soup is done. Enjoy with a side of garlic bread!
4. To Keep Your Eyesight Sharp
Did you know eating a cup of canned and cooked pumpkin can give you 200% of your daily vitamin A? This particular vitamin is important for sharper vision, better performance under dim lights, and to keep your eyes in good health. Also, the chemical components of pumpkins reduce the risk of cataracts and development of other optical issues.4
5. For A Healthy Heart
Pumpkins are great for the heart. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, and potassium. When you eat a diet rich in fiber, it helps to protect the heart from ailments.5 Also, a good intake of potassium is proven to reduce the risk of stroke.
Magnesium is another reason why you need to eat pumpkin. It’s a vital mineral for your heart. Even a slight deficiency can create changes to the heart.6 It’s important for the pumping of your heart, for healthy blood vessels, and to reduce the risk of heart attacks. And all you need is just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds to meet half the magnesium requirement for a day. Pumpkin seeds were also found to lower LDL aka “bad” cholesterol.7
6. To Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
A pigment known as beta-carotene is the reason why pumpkins get their deep orange color. But this particular pigment is not just known for its color. When consumed, beta-carotene turns into vitamin A in our system. Also, several studies claim diets rich in beta-carotene and zinc reduces the risk of cancer, especially prostate and lung cancer.8
By adding pumpkin (rich in both beta-carotene and zinc) into your diet, it should help lower the risk of cancer. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Another study found out beta-carotene also reduces the risk of colon cancer.9
7. For Anti-Diabetic Effects
There are a few studies that suggest eating pumpkins could help lower blood glucose levels and improve the production of insulin.10 But it might still need further studies.
8. For Radiant And Youthful Skin
Pumpkins can work wonders for the skin as well. They help delay signs of aging (thank you, beta-carotene), increase collagen production, and help to brighten the skin. Because of its strong vitamin A and C presence, it allows the skin to remain soft and smooth.11
Pumpkin Skin Mask
- 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of honey
Mix all the ingredients and apply the mixture to your face. Wait 20 minutes, then wash it off with warm water
9. To Perk Your Mood
If the thought of eating a yummy pumpkin pie puts you in a good mood, here’s news for you. Eating pumpkin works wonders for your mood. Pumpkin seeds have a high percent of tryptophan, a type of amino acid that produces a neurotransmitter named serotonin. Research has revealed that deficiency in serotonin can lead to anxiety and depression.12
10. For A Good Night’s Sleep
Since pumpkins are rich in tryptophan, they could act as a sleep stimulants.13 Tryptophan produces serotonin and this, in turn, relaxes and calms you, so you eventually fall asleep. A few experts even claim this could be the reason why people tend to sleep after a heavy Thanksgiving feast.
11. For Better Sexual Health
An interesting study has proven that even smelling pumpkin pie can set you in the mood for a little action between the sheets.14 There also links between eating pumpkin seeds and raising testosterone levels and increased sexual desire. The seeds are rich in zinc, making them useful to tackle erectile dysfunction. Low levels of zinc were found in men who experience erectile dysfunction.15
12. To Reduce Inflammation
Pumpkins have been found to decrease inflammation. One study revealed that pumpkin seed oil could provide relief from arthritis and reduce other inflammatory effects. It was also noted that pumpkin seed oil functioned like arthritis medication.16
13. For A Happy Bladder
One study found out munching on pumpkin seeds helped reduce the risk of bladder stones. It also helped decrease bladder pressure, increase bladder compliance, and reduce urethral pressure.17
14. For Treating The Signs Of Postmenopause
Menopausal women can give a sigh of relief. A recent study revealed pumpkin seed oil reduced postmenopausal signs. This includes headaches, hot flashes, and joint pains.18
A Few Pumpkin Tips
- When picking a pumpkin, look for something that’s deep orange and without delicate or soft spots
- Follow this routine: wash, peel skin, slice, and save the seeds. Roast the seeds for a yummy snack
- Canned pumpkins are a good bet throughout the year. But if pumpkins are in season, you are better off eating fresh ones
Pumpkins are pretty versatile. You could make smoothies, desserts, energy bars, curries, and a lot more. Just experiment and happy munching!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Making one change — getting more fiber — can help with weight loss. Harvard Medical School|
|2.||↑||Lindinger, Michael I., and Gisela Sjøgaard. “Potassium regulation during exercise and recovery.” Sports medicine 11, no. 6 (1991): 382-401|
|3.||↑||Hemilä, Harri, and Elizabeth Chalker. “Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold.” The Cochrane Library (2013)|
|4.||↑||Maci, Samanta, and Rafaela Santos. “The beneficial role of lutein and zeaxanthin in cataracts.” Nutrafoods 14, no. 2 (2015): 63-69|
|5.||↑||Wolk, Alicja, JoAnn E. Manson, Meir J. Stampfer, Graham A. Colditz, Frank B. Hu, Frank E. Speizer, Charles H. Hennekens, and Walter C. Willett. “Long-term intake of dietary fiber and decreased risk of coronary heart disease among women.” Jama 281, no. 21 (1999): 1998-2004|
|6.||↑||Weglicki, William B., Iu Tong Mak, Joanna J. Chmielinska, Maria Isabel Tejero-Taldo, Andrei Komarov, and Jay H. Kramer. “The role of magnesium deficiency in cardiovascular and intestinal inflammation.” Magnesium research: official organ of the International Society for the Development of Research on Magnesium 23, no. 4 (2010): S199|
|7.||↑||Abuelgassim, A. O., & Al-Showayman, S. I. (2012). The Effect of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L) Seeds and L-Arginine Supplementation on Serum Lipid Concentrations in Atherogenic Rats. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 9(1), 131-137|
|8.||↑||Wu, Kana, John W. Erdman, Steven J. Schwartz, Elizabeth A. Platz, Michael Leitzmann, Steven K. Clinton, Valerie DeGroff, Walter C. Willett, and Edward Giovannucci. “Plasma and dietary carotenoids, and the risk of prostate cancer.” Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers 13, no. 2 (2004): 260-269|
|9.||↑||Okuyama, Yusuke, Kotaro Ozasa, Keiichi Oki, Hoyoku Nishino, Sotaro Fujimoto, and Yoshiyuki Watanabe. “Inverse associations between serum concentrations of zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and colorectal neoplasm in Japanese.” International journal of clinical oncology 19, no. 1 (2014): 87-97|
|10, 18.||↑||Gossell-Williams, M., C. Hyde, T. Hunter, D. Simms-Stewart, H. Fletcher, D. McGrowder, and C. A. Walters. “Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study.” Climacteric 14, no. 5 (2011): 558-564|
|11.||↑||Schagen, Silke K., Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis. “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.” Dermato-endocrinology 4, no. 3 (2012): 298-307|
|12.||↑||Jenkins, Trisha A., Jason CD Nguyen, Kate E. Polglaze, and Paul P. Bertrand. “Influence of tryptophan and serotonin on mood and cognition with a possible role of the gut-brain axis.” Nutrients 8, no. 1 (2016): 56|
|13.||↑||McGinty, Dennis T. “Serotonin and sleep: molecular, functional, and clinical aspects.” Sleep 32, no. 5 (2009): 699|
|14.||↑||Hirsch, A., and J. Gruss. “Human male sexual response to olfactory stimuli.” J Neurol Orthop Med Surg 19 (1999): 14-19|
|15.||↑||Prasad, Ananda S., Chris S. Mantzoros, Frances WJ Beck, Joseph W. Hess, and George J. Brewer. “Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults.” Nutrition 12, no. 5 (1996): 344-348|
|16.||↑||”Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review.” Nutrition research reviews 23, no. 02 (2010): 184-190|
|17.||↑||Yadav, Mukesh, Shalini Jain, Radha Tomar, G. B. K. S. Prasad, and Hariom Yadav. “Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review.” Nutrition research reviews 23, no. 02 (2010): 184-190|