Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkins are big round yellowish vegetables which are sweet and soft. They are a part of the Cucurbitaceae family. This vegetable has been traditionally significant as it is consumed in plethora during festivals like thanksgiving and is also decorated during Halloween. Almost each and every part of it is used in various cuisines. Pumpkin is used in making pies, desserts, soups, ravioli and curries. The flower of pumpkin is often deep fried, boiled or steamed and is served as a side dish. Its seeds are also consumed and are a popular snack. Pumpkins have loads of nutritional and health benefits. Let us have a look at some of the health benefits of pumpkin.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkins are low calorie vegetables as they provide only around 25 calories for 100 grams of consumption. They are rich in carbohydrates and dietary fibre. Pumpkins are also a good source of vitamins and contain Vitamin-A, Vitamin-B, Vitamin-C, Vitamin-E and Vitamin-K. Minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and zinc are found in them.
Pumpkins and Pumpkin seeds reduce Cholesterol
Consumption of pumpkins can decrease the level of cholesterol in the body. They themselves contain zero cholesterol. Moreover, its seeds contain phytosterols which are known to curb bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol. Phytosterols restrict the absorption of cholesterol in the body and thus it gets directly flushed out from the system. Researchers have found that consumption of pumpkin seeds can decrease the LDL cholesterol level by around 75% and can increase HDL cholesterol by 15%.
Pumpkin is Beneficial for Diabetics
Pumpkins are low in glycemic index and thus can be helpful for person suffering from diabetes. Pumpkins though sweet are known to aid in the production of insulin and heal the pancreatic tissues. Omega-3(alpha-linolenic acid) is present in pumpkin seeds and they are recommended for diabetics.
Pumpkin prevents Cancer
Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants especially carotenoids. These antioxidants help in combating the metabolism of carcinogenic cells. Breast, cervical, lung, colon and skin cancer can be prevented by its consumption.
Health Benefits of Pumpkins – Heart Friendly
Pumpkins are heart friendly due to the presence of folates, carotenoids and magnesium. Magnesium acts as a blood vessel relaxant thus reduces high blood pressure and restricts diseases like strokes and heart attacks. Arterosclerosis i.e. hardening of arteries can also be prevented by pumpkins.
Pumpkins for Eye Care
Age related macular degeneration can be delayed by pumpkin intake. It is rich in antioxidant namely zeaxanthin which helps in protecting the retina of the eyes from harmful UV-rays and other oxidative stresses. Carotenoids namely alpha and beta carotenes are present in pumpkins. These are beneficial for eye care and night blindness can be prevented by their intake. Lutein and zeaxanthin are other compounds present in pumpkins which can be beneficial against cataracts.
Other Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
- Pumpkin seeds reduce Stress: Pumpkin seeds are rich in amino acids. It contains tryptophan which gets converted into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter compound which is known to relief anxiety and stress related activities. Thus, mood can be enhanced by the consumption of these seeds.
- Pumpkin combats Constipation: Pumpkins are rich in dietary fibre. It has laxative properties and thus can help in easy movement of bowel and keep the intestinal tracts clean.
- Pumpkin seeds are rich in Zinc: Zinc is highly beneficial for the proper health of prostate. Benign prostatic hyperplasia can be restricted in men by its consumption.
- Pumpkin for Kidney Health: Pumpkin juice is recommended for patients with kidney stones and gall bladder related diseases. Even ulcers and acidity can be kept at bay by its consumption.
- Pumpkin for Bones And Enamel: Health benefits of pumpkin includes strengthening bones and enamel. Zinc and magnesium present in it makes it beneficial for bones and teeth. Diseases like osteoporosis can be prevented by it.
- Pumpkin prevents Arthritis: Pumpkin has anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful against arthritis.