First of all, I want to congratulate everyone with Halloween :P. Being honest, back home in Ukraine, we don’t really celebrate this holiday. It may be celebrated among young people in some parties or among people that share this special kind of Halloween mood, but on the whole, Halloween is not really a holiday in Ukraine. Nevertheless, pumpkins is really something about Eastern Europe. We do eat them in many of our dishes therefore I could not overlook the idea to write about health benefits of pumpkins. Especially since it is a pumpkin season right now.
The first benefit is weight loss issue. It won’t be a surprise for most of us that fiber-rich diet helps people to eat less and therefore people lose pounds easily. Pumpkins are a great source of fiber. One-cup of pumpkin serving has 3 gr of fiber and just 49 calories. It all makes us feel full for a long time with minimal intake of calories. As a result, pumpkins are a great alternative for many diets.
The second benefit is improvement of eyesight. One cup of cooked pumpkin has more than 200% of daily recommended Vitamin A intake which helps to improve vision especially in dim light. It is also rich in carotenoids including beta-carotene which our bodies convert into Vitamin A for additional vision protection.
The third benefit is cancer risk reduction. The above-mentioned beta-carotene antioxidant plays a significant role in cancer prevention. In fact, National Institute of Health considers that beta-carotene helps more than supplements. Additionally, plant sterols in pumpkin seeds can fight some cancer types.
The fourth benefit is heart health protection. Seeds and nuts, among them those from pumpkins are naturally very rich in phytosterols (plant-based chemicals). According to studies, they effectively reduce LDL or “bad” type of cholesterol. Therefore, pumpkins are great for those people that are concerned about heart health issues.
The fifth benefit is skin protection. As Health magazine suggests free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids helps not only with cancer issues but also helps to keep skin wrinkle-free.
The next advantage is its nutrient refueling and energizing properties. A cup of cooked pumpkin has 564 milligrams of refueling nutrient potassium which is more than banana’s 422 that is often viewed as nature’s energy bar. In fact, extra potassium helps to bring back body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout.
The last, but definitely not least advantage is pumpkin seeds abilities to boost mood. Surprisingly for many of us, pumpkin seeds’ amino acid tryptophan is essential for production of serotonin, one of key players in mood development. Therefore some roasted pumpkin seeds may help us to lift our spirits.
On the whole, taking into account all abovementioned advantages, it is definitely possible to say that pumpkins are great for our body and health. It is great for health, skin, energy and even mood issues.
And lastly have a great Halloween 🙂