7 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin soup, Pumpkin risotto, Pumpkin beer – The options are endless and endlessly mouthwatering. it’s finally pumpkin season and the reason to celebrate the National pumpkin day.
Every time I see the giant pumpkin I feel like to point out with a wood stick and say 3 times, BeBeedy BaBeedy Boooo. and my magical carriage would appear to take me to Lala Land:-) ….second after would realize that I was daydreaming and have to get on with my plan for Halloween and pumpkin carving. carriage have to wait for later for my prince charming to arrives:-)Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins. Though this humble backyard vegetable is less in calories, nonetheless, it carries vitamin A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance.
Pumpkins vary greatly in shape, size, and colors. Giant pumpkins generally weigh 4–6 kg with the largest capable of reaching a weight of over 25 kg. Golden-nugget pumpkins are flat, smaller and feature sweet creamy orange color flesh.
Pumpkins, in general, feature orange or yellow outer skin color; however, some varieties can exhibit dark to pale green, brown, white, red and gray. Their color characteristics are largely influenced by yellow-orange pigments in their skin and pulp. Its thick rind is smooth with light, vertical ribs.
In structure, the fruit features golden-yellow to orange flesh depending upon the poly-phenolic pigments in it. The fruit has a hollow center, with numerous small, off-white colored seeds interspersed in a net-like structure. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.
1 Pumpkins Aid Weight Loss
Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. Also, naturally sweet flavor of this magical mystery vegetable help you to reduce sugar craving. try to have more root vegetables during autumn and winter to balance your insulin level and replace this instead of unhealthy refined sugary snacks throughout the day.
A fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds. A 2009 study found that people who ate a whole apple before lunch (the fiber is in the skin) consumed fewer calories throughout the meal than people who ate applesauce or drank apple juice, WebMD reported.
Can help you to ward off cold this season with packed vitamin C. pumpkins are a solid source of the essential nutrient. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams the IOM recommends women need daily. (Men should aim for around 75 milligrams.)
• Zea-xanthin is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in the retina of the eyes. Thus, it may offer protection from “age-related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly.
•The fruit is a good source of the B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.
•It is also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
3 Pumpkins Keep Eyesight Sharp
A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A for additional peeper protection.
4 Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart
Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol
5 Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood
Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, the famed ingredient in turkey that many think brings on the need for that post-Thanksgiving feast snooze. While experts agree that it’s likely the overeating rather than the tryptophan lulling you to sleep, the amino acid is important in the production of serotonin, one of the major players when it comes to our mood, WebMD reports. A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds may help your outlook stay bright.
6 Pumpkins May Reduce Cancer Risk
Like their orange comrades the sweet potato, the carrot and the butternut squash (to name a few), pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Food sources of beta-carotene seem to help more than a supplement, according to the NIH — even more reason to scoop up some pumpkin today. And the plant sterols in pumpkin seeds have also been linked to fighting off certain cancers.
7 Pumpkin improve the appearance of your skin and hair
As we have mentioned above, All the Anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins packed in pumpkin helps protect skin from free radical damage, such as wrinkles and even skin cancer. Eating vitamin C rich foods also helps promote collagen production, which over time can improve skin tone and elasticity.
Eating foods that are a good source of carotenoids can help to reverse UV damage and improve skin texture.
Potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and iron are just a few of the minerals found in pumpkin. Potassium helps promote healthy hair and regrowth. Pumpkins are also rich in copper and zinc, which play a big part in healthy skin and hair. Zinc helps protect cell membranes, maintain collagen, fight acne, and promotes skin renewal. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and easy to add into your diet. Try sprinkling them in soups, salads, or adding them to yogurt and oatmeal.Folate also helps to improve circulation, which increases cell turnover and renewal.
Besides consumption, pumpkin can also be applied topically in the forms of peels, masks, creams, and conditioners to promote healthy skin and hair. Pumpkin is widely used in facials in combination with other soothing ingredients like honey and lemon to help brighten skin and treat a dull complexion. Try this simple pumpkin hair conditioner for a simple way to restore dry hair:
- 2 cups chopped and cooked pumpkin
- 1/4 cup of yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Preparation and serving methods
Some hybrid varieties are usually subjected to insecticide powder or spray. Therefore, wash them thoroughly under running water in order to remove dirt, soil and any residual insecticides/fungicides.
Cut the stem end and slice the whole fruit into two equal halves. Remove central net-like structure and set aside seeds. Then cut the flesh into desired sizes. In general, small cubes are preferred in cooking preparations.
Almost all the parts of the pumpkin plant; fruit, leaves, flowers, and seeds, are edible.
Here are some serving tips:
•Pumpkin can be used in a variety of delicious recipes either baked, stew- fried; however, it is eaten best after steam-cooking in order to get maximum nutrients. In China, young tender, pumpkin leaves consumed as cooked greens or in soups.
•In Iran where it is popular as “kaddu or kaddu Halwaee”, pumpkin is used in the preparation of “sabzee“, sweet dishes (halwa), desserts, soups, curries,…etc.
•The fruit is used in the preparation of pies, pancakes, custard, ravioli…etc in Europe and USA.
•Golden nugget pumpkins are used to make wonderful soufflés, stuffing, soups…etc.
•Roasted Pumpkin seeds (Pepita) can be eaten as snacks.