Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkin
As autumn returns, so do all of the smells and tastes you’ve come to love. Whether you’re indulging in a pumpkin spice latte, a slice of pumpkin pie or a scoop of pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin is pretty much an inevitable part of the seasonal festivities. Luckily, pumpkin also has many great health benefits which make splurging on this fruit absolutely worthwhile.
Boost Your Immune System
With temperatures dropping, flu and cold season is just around the corner. Luckily, pumpkin can protect you against these illnesses by giving your immune system the nutrients it needs to stay strong. Vitamin C has long been known improve your immune system, and one cup of pumpkin contains 20 percent of the recommended daily value of the precious nutrient. Not only that, pumpkins are also high in beta-carotene, which is also essential for the proper function of the immune system.
As you age, your skin cells begin to break down and lose the collagen that makes them look full and plump. This leads to wrinkles and sagging that makes you look older. However, pumpkins are naturally loaded with vitamin A, which has been proven to improve skin cell renewal. Even better, the boost of beta-carotene in pumpkin provides natural protection from harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of sun damage to skin.
Reduce Cancer Risk
Beta-carotene has a lot of benefits, one of which is reducing your risk for cancer. According to the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, beta-carotene can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Another study also proved its effectiveness in warding off lung cancer and colon cancer in certain populations. Pumpkins are actually one of the best ways to get this vital nutrient, as both the fruit and the seeds contain these cancer-reducing elements.
Just one cup of pumpkin actually contains 200 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Combined with the power of vitamin C and vitamin E, this trifecta of nutrients is a great way to improve eye health and prevent certain types of degenerative issues. In fact, research suggests that it can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin A is also crucial for improving your vision in situations with dim light.
Aid in Weight Loss
You might not realise it, but pumpkin is packed with fibre. Just one cup of pumpkin contains seven quality grams of fibre. Because fibre slows down digestion, it helps you stay full longer, preventing you from snacking in between meals. Not only that, but that same cup of pumpkin contains only 49 calories and is almost 90 percent water. With such a low amount of calories and a large amount of water, pumpkin is a great snack that will keep you hydrated.
Help With Heart Health
By eating pumpkin seeds, you are ingesting a plant-based chemical called phytosterols. These chemicals have been proven to help reduce the bad type of cholesterol that contributes to heart disease. The potent combination of fibre, vitamin C and potassium are all great for your heart. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure naturally, taking stress off of your heart. It can even reduce your risk of stroke.
As you can see, being a pumpkin enthusiast is not a hobby that should be reserved only for autumn. By incorporating more pumpkin into your diet on a regular basis, you might be able to experience long-lasting health benefits.
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- Kristy Snyder