What are the health benefits of pumpkin? Many people do not realize that this is a real gift of Nature. Have you ever wondered what the secret of pumpkin’s popularity is? After all, this fruit, saturated with the rays of the sun and the juices of nature itself, is consumed in countries with different cultures, customs, and traditions. There are numerous pumpkin recipes and this is not an accident.
What are the health benefits of pumpkin for the human body?
- Pumpkin contains many vitamins and minerals
- Pumpkin boosts immunity
- Pumpkin cleans the body
- Pumpkin is good for the heart, blood vessels and lowers risk of cancer
- Health benefits of pumpkin – improves eye health
- Pumpkin is beneficial to skin
- Health benefits of pumpkin – weight control
- Pumpkin helps prevent depression
- Who should not eat pumpkin?
- How to choose and store pumpkins?
The pulp of this aromatic, bright orange fruit is incredibly tasty, nutritious and beneficial to health. The plant is unpretentious and is grown all over the world. But even where gardening and horticulture are not common due to the climatic features of the area, you can find pumpkins in the grocery store or supermarket. The pumpkin is not expensive. This means that you can enjoy it as much as you like.
What are the health benefits of pumpkin for the human body?
In the fall, the markets offer pumpkins of all varieties, shapes and sizes. The health benefits of pumpkin are proven by numerous studies and it is useful for both children and adults. Let’s list the most important ones them!
Pumpkin contains many vitamins and minerals
Pumpkin contains many vitamins- C, A, E, K, D, B. Vitamin K is a rare substance that is involved in the synthesis of bone tissue and improves blood formation. Vitamin D improves the absorption of food and facilitates the absorption of nutrients, and B vitamins have sedative properties and strengthen the immune system. In addition it is rich is magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, potassium, etc. This is only a small, but the most striking part of the chemical composition of the pumpkin. However, there are other substances in the pulp of this fruit that have a beneficial effect on human health.
Pumpkin boosts immunity
Pumpkin pulp and seeds are rich in nutrients and they enhance the body’s defenses. Once beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, it is involved white blood cells formation and you know that these cells fight various infections, viruses and bacteria. Ascorbic acid also stimulates the production of white blood cells that strengthen the immune system and accelerate recovery. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zink which is a natural immunomodulator. Other beneficial substances that boost immunity are vitamin E, iron and folic acid.
Pumpkin cleans the body
Pumpkin dishes are not only delicious, they are easy to digest, do not irritate mucous membranes and have a good laxative effect. The pectin effectively removes excess fluid and toxins from the body, cleanses the digestive system, removes excess cholesterol, and cleanses blood vessels. The fiber contained in pumpkin also has a good cleansing effect and promotes natural detoxification. Once in the gastrointestinal tract, it binds toxins and removes them from the body.
Pumpkin is good for the heart, blood vessels and lowers risk of cancer
Folic acid and ascorbic acid are responsible for strong immunity and circulatory health and potassium and magnesium support heart health. Pumpkin has anti-inflammatory properties, prevents the development of diabetes and prevents the entry of carcinogens from the external environment into the cells of the body. Pectin removes cholesterol from the body. It is also used as a diuretic and the juice helps with constipation.
Pumpkin is rich in antioxidants that perform the function of a natural protective shield in the body. It contains alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. They neutralize free radicals, preventing cell damage. In addition, pumpkin is rich in potassium, which normalizes blood pressure and reduces the risk of strokes. Due to the high content of vitamin C, pumpkin removes “bad” cholesterol and strengthens blood vessels. Pumpkins contain carotenoids, which function as antioxidants and and neutralize free radicals which in turn lowers the risk of stomach, throat, pancreas and breast cancers.
Health benefits of pumpkin – improves eye health
Pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A and it helps the retina perceive light better. Pumpkin consumption lowers the risk of developing cataract. In addition, pumpkin is one of the leaders in the content of lutein and zeaxanthin which reduce the risk of certain eye diseases and help prevent age-related vision loss.
Pumpkin is beneficial to skin
As we mentioned above, pumpkin is a great source of beta carotene. Once in the body, this carotenoid is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A stimulates cellular renewal processes, fights acne and smooths the skin. Further to that Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta carotene are one of the most powerful antioxidants and can influence the activity of free radicals which are responsible for damaging the healthy cells. The antioxidants in pumpkin are natural sunscreen. They reduce the harmful effects of UV rays and prevent the development of malignant tumors, reduce inflammation and prevent premature aging. Pumpkin is rich in ascorbic acid. It is needed for the production of collagen which makes the skin elastic and smooth and slows down the appearance of wrinkles. Collagen also reduces stretch marks and cellulite. Last, but not least, pumpkins are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which reduce the risk of skin dryness.
Health benefits of pumpkin – weight control
Pumpkin is ideal for those who are watching their weight. Despite its high nutritional value, it is low in calories, which makes it a fantastic element for weight loss diets. Pumpkins contain 90% water and area great source of fiber. Despite the fact that they are low in calories, pumpkins are also a rich source of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, manganese, potassium and riboflavin which helps you stay energized and healthy. They also contain carnitine, a substance that accelerates the breakdown of fats and increases the body’s endurance.
Pumpkin helps prevent depression
The combination of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and pectin makes pumpkins an effective remedy against stress and bad mood. Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids. It is a natural antidepressant which reduces anxiety and has a relaxing effect. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is converted to serotonin, the hormone of happiness which also promotes peaceful sleep. The magnesium content is also very important as it is responsible for muscle relaxation and nervous system regulation. Pumpkin is versatile for every diet
Pumpkin is delicious and you can easily add it to your diet. It is the main ingredient in hundreds of recipes – pies, pancakes, soups, pasta, salads, etc. The seeds are also edible and full of nutrients. The best way to include pumpkin in your menu is to consume it freshly cooked and try to avoid canned products because they often contain sugar and other additives.
So, let’s summarize the health benefits of pumpkin:
- Cleanses the body of toxins;
- Protects the cells against damage by free radicals;
- Normalizes water-salt balance;
- Improves metabolism;
- Regulates blood pressure;
- Improves tissue structure, increases skin elasticity;
- Boosts immunity;
- Improves digestion;
- Strengthens the heart muscle and vascular walls;
- Reduces risk of cancer;
- Prevents and controls diabetes;
- protects your eyesight;
- promotes weight loss;
- Improves skin health;
- Helps you will sleep better;
- It is great for the muscles;
- It is low in calories, delicious, and easy to add it to your menu.
Who should not eat pumpkin?
You see that pumpkins offer a great number of benefits for human health. However, even such a useful product can be harmful, so it is worth considering possible contraindications.
- Pumpkin is not recommended if you suffer from diabetes;
- Juice of raw pumpkin must be avoided in case of acute phase of gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer;
- In case of individual intolerance and allergy;
- In case of stomach problems, hypotension, increased acidity.
- Pumpkin is not recommended for children up to 6 months old.
How to choose and store pumpkins?
Before buying a pumpkin, pay attention to its appearance and look at its skin – it should not have dents, cracks, no signs of rotting.
You should also choose a pumpkin with a dry stem. Also, keep in mind that the shelf life of a stemless pumpkin is significantly reduced.
Store pumpkin in a dry, dark and cool place. It is not a perishable food and when properly stored will last during the entire winter season.
If you cut the pumpkin, remove seeds, seal it and place it in the refrigerator. Pumpkin can be stored in a freezer as well.