7 Ways Pumpkins Can Improve Your Health!
Here’s a look at the nutritional advantages of pumpkins and how they can contribute to good health.
- Good Source of Vitamin A & Carotenoids
The vibrant orange color of pumpkins is a dead giveaway that they are packed with beta-carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A.
Beta-carotene is known for it potential to boost your immune system and some studies have found it may even help prevent cancer. Vitamin A is also an essential vitamin for vision health. A cup of pumpkin has nearly 200% of the recommended daily value for Vitamin A.
- Cholesterol & Heart Health
The most amazing part of the pumpkin may actually be the seeds, which have a lot of nutritious qualities. One of them is the potential to help lower your levels of “bad cholesterol” or LDL cholesterol.Pumpkin seeds as well as other nuts and seeds are rich in phytosterols, which are plant-based chemicals shown to reduce LDL. Healthy cholesterol levels mean a healthier heart – and that’s not the only way pumpkin seeds help your ticker.They are also packed with magnesium, an important mineral, of which most Americans have a deficiency. Magnesium promotes healthy blood pressure and can help prevent heart attack and stroke. A quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds contains about half the recommended daily amount of magnesium.
- Lots of Fiber
Fresh pumpkins have about three grams of fiber per one-cup serving. Add to that the fact that it also contains only about 50 calories per serving, and this is an excellent vegetable to help you control hunger as well as weight gain.Since canned pumpkin is more concentrated – it actually has even more fiber – as much as seven grams per serving as well as three grams of protein. There’s some more fiber in those pumpkin seeds too.
- Good Source of Zinc
Pumpkin seeds are also a great way to get the mineral zinc. If you aren’t getting enough zinc, your body could be more susceptible to coming down with colds and flus. That’s why zink is viewed as an important mineral for immune system health.Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil can also be beneficial to men’s health. They’ve been shown to support the prostate because of the high zinc content. There’s more than 2 mg in just one ounce of seeds. Zinc has even been shown to reduce enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia.
- Skin Health & Protection
Healthy skin is yet another positive effect of the pumpkin. You’ll often find natural lotions that include pumpkin in the ingredients.The carotenoids in pumpkin may help neutralize free radicals, which can cause stress and damage to your skin. Dermatologist and author Kenneth Beer told Health.com that because the pumpkin contains Vitamins A, C and E, it can also help cleanse the skin.To top it all off, pumpkins have excellent hydrating properties to keep your skin from getting dried out.
- Potassium for Refueling
We’ve always heard that the banana is nature’s energy bar because of all the potassium (or Vitamin K). But you may surprised to learn that while one average-sized banana has about 420 mg of potassium, a cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 560 mg.Potassium can help restore electrolytes and maintain fluids in your body after a good workout. That ensures your muscles recover properly and helps you avoid cramping. Plus, a deficiency in potassium could also contribute to reducing hypertension/high blood pressure.
- Boost Mood and Help You SleepUsually we talk about turkey when we think of tryptophan, which can make you feel sleepy. But turkey meat doesn’t actually have all that much of the amino acid. However, pumpkin seeds truly are a good source of tryptophan.Your body uses tryptophan to help it produce the hormone serotonin. Of course, serotonin is known as the “happy hormone.” So eating pumpkin seeds could improve your mood.You use serotonin to produce melatonin – also known as the “sleep hormone.” Melatonin is important for developing a healthy, normal sleep cycle. In an article about the benefits of pumpkin seeds, Dr. Joseph Mercola suggests eating a handful of pumpkin seeds a few hours before you plan to go to bed. It could be a natural way to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
|Amount Per 1 cup (1″ cubes) (116 g)|
- % Daily Value*
|Total Fat 0.1 g||0%|
|Saturated fat 0.1 g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 1 mg||0%|
|Potassium 394 mg||11%|
|Total Carbohydrate 8 g||2%|
|Dietary fiber 0.6 g||2%|
|Sugar 3.2 g|
|Protein 1.2 g||2%|
|Vitamin A||197%||Vitamin C||17%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||5%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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