Reasons to Eat Pumpkin All Year Round
Carving jack-o-lanterns is an exciting tradition for both children and adults alike, but the pumpkin is more than just a decorative ornament for Halloween and fall. Did you know that pumpkin is an excellent source of healthful benefits? The vegetable is packed full of nutrition and should be enjoyed throughout seasons.
What Is the Nutritional Value of Pumpkin?
Expounding on the fact that pumpkin is so much more than a festive food — canned pumpkin provides 7.1 g of fiber in a single cup. On the other hand, its boiled, raw counterpart contains about 2.1 g of fiber per cup. Fiber is a crucial dietary material that allows the body to move stool through the digestive tract. According to the American Institute of for Cancer Research, fiber may play a significant role in protecting the body from colon cancer.
Pumpkin is also incredibly rich in antioxidant compounds called carotenoids, which give the vegetable its vibrant orange color. Pumpkin seeds also have profound benefits, including good fats, antioxidants, and vitamin E. Other nutrients contained in the vegetable include zinc, iron, vitamin B6, selenium, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and niacin.
Is pumpkin available all year round?
This plant of the gourd family thrives during late May in northern locations until early July in southern areas. The vegetable is especially popular during fall, serving as a staple ingredient in goodies such as pie, custard, bread, and soup.
Fresh pumpkin may be challenging to find during the earlier half of the year, but canned pumpkin is available throughout seasons and is just as nutritious as the fresh variety. If you are looking for convenience, the unsalted and canned option is a great alternative.
What are the benefits of eating pumpkin?
There are several benefits to adding pumpkin to your diet, including the following:
1. Pumpkin reduces cancer risks
Several studies reveal that pumpkin may be a cancer-squashing superfood. Pumpkin contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which, according to the National Cancer Institute, may prevent certain types of cancer. The pumpkin’s more recent claim to fame is a Ribosome Inactivating Protein called cucurmosin, which according to a study, is a chemical within pumpkin flesh that is toxic to human pancreatic cancer cells. These scientific bases are more reason to scoop up an extra serving of pumpkin today.
2. Pumpkin is good for the heart
The generous content of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in pumpkin works wonders in supporting heart health. A study concludes that people who ate a diet high in fiber had a 40 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease. Further research reveals that women who maintained a high-fiber diet had a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease than women who preferred a low-fiber diet.
3. Pumpkin aids in weight loss
The pumpkin keeps weight gain at bay because of its fiber content, which is known to maintain a satisfied appetite without having to consume too many calories. In fact, one cup of mashed pumpkin only has 49 calories. According to a study reported by WebMD, people who ate an apple (the skin consists of fiber) before lunchtime was found to consume fewer calories throughout their succeeding meals.
There is no question that the health benefits of pumpkin are too good to pass up. The next time you drop by the local market, do not hesitate to grab a fresh pumpkin or its canned variety. It is not only a delicious and satisfying treat for the holidays, but it may also provide profound advantages to combating health hazards such as cancer, heart disease, and obesity.