Got a pumpkin or two lying around this Halloween?
If you’ve previously been throwing away your triangle-eyed friend once the festivities are over, then you may be missing out on a highly nutritious seasonal fruit.Yep that’s right pumpkins are actually a fruit.
Pumpkins can add real nutritional value to your diet. A Lot of Brands are jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon, Starbucks has sold more than 100 million pumpkin spiced lattes in the past 10 years. Even the makers of Pringles are getting in on the action. While most pumpkin flavored treats should be added to the once-in-awhile list, pumpkin (not to be confused with artificial pumpkin spice flavouring) is actually one of the healthier foods of the season.
Fights Colds and Infections
The bright orange hue that comes with pumpkin is from a special phytochemical called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene turns into vitamin A within the body and plays a key role in supporting a healthy immune system.
Eyesight diminishes with age, but fortunately, by fueling our body with the right nutrients we can lower the risk of sight loss. Pumpkin’s rich content of vitamin A (Almost twice the recommended daily intake) supports healthy vision, but it’s also rich in plant compounds including lutein and zeaxanthin which are associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts
Pumpkin has a similar consistency to starchy carbohydrates such as potato. This means it can make a tasty and satisfying alternative to sweet potato, yet comes with as few as 26 calories per 100g. Have a go at switching spaghetti for spiralized pumpkin spaghetti, or instead of mash potato, why not try a pumpkin mash, which can save calories without compromising on flavour.Did you know pumpkins are in fact 94% water.
Pumpkin’s rich source of vitamin A means that it is the perfect vegetable for glowing skin. Vitamin A is a key nutrient required for supporting the daily replacement of skin cells and is critical for the formation of healthy skin. Its precursor beta-carotene is an antioxidant found in abundance in pumpkin and has been shown to play a role in protecting skin cells from sun damage, which is critical for the prevention of ageing skin.
It’s not just pumpkin flesh which is highly nutritious, pumpkin seeds are also a top source of magnesium, fibre and healthy polyunsaturated fats. All of these components play a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure and supporting a healthy heart. Pumpkin seed oil is full of phytoestrogens which research shows are beneficial for preventing hypertension.
Pumpkin seeds pack around 1.7 grams of dietary fiber per one ounce, fibre is great at keeping you feel fuller for longer, which in turn keeps your appetite at bay. Research has shown that those who eat a diet high in fibre had a 40% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who ate a diet low in fibre.