Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a fall staple. Pumpkin pie, sorbet, strudele, latte, you name it, if it’s fall you can’t turn anywhere without seeing pumpkin something or another. I personally love pumpkin, not the artificial pumpkin flavored foods, but real pumpkin for two reasons. First, it’s darn delicious and second, it’s really REALLY good for you.

Here are just a few of the nutrients in 1 cup of pumpkin:pumpkin-in-patch

  • High in carotenoids
  • An excellent source of vitamin A; 1 cup contains 145% daily value
  • A good source of vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Dietary fiber
  • Maganese
  • Folate

Great, pumpkin is high in a lot of great things but what does it actually DO for you. Well, research has been done on exactly that. The nutrients in pumpkin, or rather, the combination of nutrients in pumpkin, work together to aid in several ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, tumors and bacterial infections just to name a few. 1

yelllow-pumpkinIn a study done using the polysaccharides (a fancy name for starch) in pumpkin it was found that the fasting blood glucose levels of the participant decreased.2 This is an important study to remember because it shows the importance of what we consume and how it can bring our bodies back into balance. A diet rich in whole vegetables and dietary fiber is extremely important for people struggling with type 2 diabetes.

In addition to aiding in glucose levels pumpkin, more specifically the seeds of pumpkin, help in lowering high blood pressure.3 Using whole food substances to lower blood pressure when possible is always a better option than synthetic drugs because your body can recognize and assimilate the benefits of whole foods. Many synthetic blood pressure medications can come with a lot of unwanted side effects because your body is trying to fight the foreign substance. So while they may lower your blood pressure, they might be increasing your chances of renal cancer. 4

On a happier note, pumpkin also raises the blood content of glutathione. Glutathione aids the body in ridding itself of carcinogens cancer causing agents, and also protects the skin through an antioxidant effect from skin cancer.

These are just a few of the reasons to start loving on pumpkin in you daily diet. If the health benefits weren’t enough try pumpkin for its delicious flavor and don’t worry about the benefits. Here’s one of my favorite pumpkin recipes, Pumpkin Soup.

 


Sources:

1.
Caili F, Huan S, Quanhong L. A review on pharmacological activities and utilization technologies of pumpkin. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2006;61(2):73-80. [PubMed]
2.
Liu Y, Jin H, Xu Z, Nan W, Wang T, Cheng Y. [Effects of pumpkin polysaccharides on blood glucose and blood lipids in diabetic rats]. Zhongguo Ying Yong Sheng Li Xue Za Zhi. 2006;22(3):358-361. [PubMed]
3.
El-Mosallamy A, Sleem A, Abdel-Salam O, Shaffie N, Kenawy S. Antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects of pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food. 2012;15(2):180-189. [PubMed]
4.
Heath C, Lally C, Calle E, McLaughlin J, Thun M. Hypertension, diuretics, and antihypertensive medications as possible risk factors for renal cell cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 1997;145(7):607-613. [PubMed]

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