Given their numerous nutritional advantages and year-round availability, pumpkins are recognised for the various health benefits they offer. It’s among the healthiest vegetables one can eat.
What is Pumpkin?
Pumpkins belong to the Cucurbitaceae or the squash family, along with watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber and squash. They are huge, spherical and orange with a slightly ribbed, tough but smooth outer skin.
The flesh and seeds of this vegetable are contained within the outer layer. The stringy pieces that hold the seeds in place must be removed since the entire cooked pumpkin—including the skin, pulp and seeds—is edible.
Pumpkin offers us numerous notable advantages. It is one of the vegetables that are available worldwide. Important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant components like beta-carotene are abundant in it. Pumpkins are advantageous for our health in several significant ways owing to the presence of these nutrients.
To get the most out of this inexpensive, nutrient-dense food, read on to learn more about the various ways pumpkin benefits us.
100 g of round, orange pumpkin has the following nutrients as provided by Indian Food Composition Table (IFCT,2017), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), ICMR.
- Energy – 23 Kcal
- Carbohydrate – 4 g
- Dietary fibre – 2.56 g
- Fat – 0.16 g
- Protein – 0.84 g
- Total Folate – 24.14 µg
- Ascorbic acid – 8.04 mg
- Phylloquinones – 83.70 µg
- Lutein – 161 µg
- β-Carotene – 149 µg
- Total carotenoids – 1449 µg
- Calcium – 23 mg
- Potassium – 253 mg
- Total polyphenols – 15.25 mg
7 Wonderful Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Eating a wide variety of food, such as pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, may be helpful to boost the immune system and give additional support.
Pumpkin is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, including a few that may help us survive the cold and flu season with little effects. For instance, vitamin A may help fight infections by boosting the immune system.
Pumpkin also contains vitamin C, which speeds up wound healing, boosts the production of white blood cells and improves the efficiency of immune cells. Numerous minerals, including zinc, are present in pumpkin seeds and help to enhance the immune system.
Pumpkin’s high concentrations of zinc and the antioxidant vitamins A and C have positive effects on the immune system.
Antioxidants in pumpkin help fight off disease-causing free radicals in the body by reducing harm to cells involved in the immune response.
The credit for the vibrant orange colour of the pumpkin goes to the beta-carotene present in them, which, when consumed, transforms into vitamin A.
Vitamin A is known to be crucial in boosting immune system health. The immune system is also helped by vitamin C, which stimulates white blood cell production and supports immune cell activity.
Aids sharp vision
Reduced eyesight and even complete blindness have been related to low vitamin A levels. Vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene, support eye health and lower the incidence of age-related eye disorders.
In addition, lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that have been associated with a lower incidence of cataracts and improved vision, are abundant in pumpkins. The most common cause of blindness, macular degeneration, has been found to be prevented by lutein. Moreover, studies demonstrate that high concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin shield the eyes from damaging UV rays.
Pumpkin is a good source of fibre, which decreases blood cholesterol and potassium, which helps control blood pressure. This sweet vegetable contains arginine, an amino acid required by the body to produce nitric oxide, an essential compound for lowering blood pressure and relaxing blood vessels.
Pumpkin contains a variety of antioxidants that may stop the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol oxidises, it can narrow our blood arteries, raising our heart disease risk.
One may be more at risk due to lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking, an imbalanced diet and not exercising as well as medical issues including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Diabetes and obesity. Including nutritious foods like pumpkin may assist in promoting heart health.
The American Heart Association advises consuming various fruits and vegetables, limiting excess sodium and living a tobacco-free lifestyle in addition to eating adequate calories and exercising frequently.
Eating foods rich in potassium, such as pumpkin, can help to control sodium levels because potassium is an important component in the metabolism of salt. Dietary fibre lowers the risk of heart disease and raises cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Helps maintain a healthy weight
Another benefit of pumpkin’s high fibre content is that it promotes satiety, or the sense of being full, which can help reduce cravings and, in turn, helps to consume fewer calories.
The high-water content of pumpkin, like that of many other plant-based foods, also contributes to the feeling of being satiated and full.
Pumpkin can aid in controlling blood sugar levels as it is an excellent source of fibre. This is beneficial for managing weight and energy levels, but it’s also excellent for preventing Diabetes risk in the long run. By controlling blood sugar, one can reduce the chances of getting Diabetes as well as other illnesses like obesity and liver damage.
To benefit from pumpkin’s blood sugar-balancing qualities, stay away from consuming it with foods high in sugar (like pumpkin pie), which can counteract its positive effects. While occasionally enjoying a piece is acceptable, one should also consider incorporating pumpkin into savoury foods like soups and pasta.
Prevents premature ageing
The antioxidants in pumpkin assist the body in fending off the common cold and in protecting itself from the harm caused by free radicals. As a result, people consuming pumpkin regularly stand a better chance of preventing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
The beta-carotene in pumpkin offers some protection from the UV rays that cause sunspots, wrinkles and skin cancer. Pumpkin contains vitamins C and E, which act as effective antioxidants to lessen the harm from free radicals and promote the formation of collagen, which keeps skin supple and young-looking.
The body reacts to harmful substances by causing inflammation, which is quite common. Acute inflammation is often short-term, such as unintentionally cutting the finger, and resolves in a matter of days. However, persistent inflammation should not be overlooked.
Chronic inflammation can cause conditions and diseases like autoimmune disorders, Diabetes, heart disease, cancer and renal disease, which are linked to mortality and disability. A nutrient-dense diet may be beneficial.
People use pumpkins for their anti-inflammatory effects. Pumpkins’ high beta-carotene content could play a role. According to research, In Vivo, beta-carotene exerts high anti-inflammatory activity. Research states that beta-carotene exerts more potent activities than lycopene (another carotenoid).
Is pumpkin safe for every individual?
While pumpkin is generally safe for most people, some people may develop an allergy to it. This allergy may be due to the cross-reactivity with other fruits in the same Cucurbitaceae family.
Consuming a lot of pumpkin seeds at once may increase the amount of fluid and electrolytes discharged in the urine because the chemicals in pumpkin seeds appear to have a diuretic effect. Talking to a healthcare professional is necessary while taking lithium or other prescription medications.
Pumpkin benefits for skin and hair care
Pumpkin benefits all skin types, especially sensitive skin.
- Oily skin – Combine a tablespoon of pumpkin puree and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to make a face pack. Apply this to a moist face and leave it on for up to 30 minutes or until it dries. Rinse with lukewarm water first, then cold water. Apply a moisturiser that is suitable for specific skin types.
- Dry skin – Combine pumpkin puree with honey, milk and heavy cream for dry skin. Apply this evenly to the face and leave it alone for ten to fifteen minutes. The skin is nourished, moisturised and exfoliated by this mask. Apply a moisturiser after rinsing with warm water.
- Niacin, riboflavin, B6, and folate are a few of the B vitamins that are abundant in pumpkin. Niacin helps to reduce inflammation and is, therefore, effective in treating acne. Furthermore, folate promotes circulation, which enhances cell regeneration and turnover. The antioxidant qualities of pumpkin may also help heal acne.
In addition to its advantages for skin care, pumpkin’s high nutritional value also renders numerous advantages for hair. For optimal growth and health, hair follicles need a sufficient amount of nutrients.
Minerals like zinc and potassium are abundant in pumpkins. Potassium aids in increasing regrowth and maintaining healthy hair. Zinc is crucial for supporting healthy hair since it aids in maintaining collagen. Pumpkin seed oil is known to promote hair development by enhancing blood circulation.
People with dry hair can benefit from using a quick conditioner using pumpkin.
- Combine 2 cups of cooked, chopped pumpkin with one tablespoon each of yoghurt, honey and coconut oil.
- In a food processor or blender, purée the pumpkin mixture with the yoghurt.
- Then, combine honey and coconut oil to make a mixture.
- Apply it to damp hair after shampooing.
- Cover with a plastic shower cap, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Give the hair a thorough rinse for soft and smooth hair.
How to use pumpkin in diet?
Pumpkins can be cooked in various ways, but they make a terrific addition when added to both savoury dishes and desserts.
Pumpkin puree, banana, yoghurt, nut butter and warm spices are mixed to prepare a creamy, protein-rich pumpkin pie smoothie for a delectable breakfast or snack. One can’t resist falling in love with making this nutritious pumpkin smoothie recipe.
What goes into a pumpkin smoothie?
- Pumpkin puree
- Almond milk – One can also use ordinary milk or coconut milk.
- Greek yoghurt – Dairy-free yoghurt can also be used as per preference.
- Frozen banana – gives the smoothie a creamy texture and adds sweetness.
- Nut butter – Renders nutty sweetness. Almond or pecan butter would do.
- Vanilla extract
Method of preparation
The natural flavour of pumpkin is so outstanding that we only need a tiny amount to prepare a stunning, creamy, flavorful soup.
What goes in pumpkin soup?
For this delicious, quick and simple pumpkin soup, we require
- Pumpkin – peeled and diced
- Milk or cream
Method of preparation
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a cooking pot.
- Fill the pot with water, peeled onion, peeled garlic and pumpkin. Boil the mixture for about 15 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the pumpkin is very soft.
- Add salt and pepper. Add milk or cream, according to preference. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until soup consistency is attained.
- To enhance the taste, season the soup with roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Onion and garlic make up the secret mixture. A little extra savoriness makes a huge difference.
Other pumpkin recipes
Certain other delicious pumpkin-incorporated recipes are
- Pumpkin muffin
- Pumpkin and potato vegetable
- Pumpkin peas curry
- Pumpkin mousse
- Pumpkin cake
- Pumpkin spinach pie
- Pumpkin halwa
- Pumpkin sabzi
- Almond pumpkin kebab
- And not to forget the most popular of all—pumpkin spiced latte.
Pumpkin has many year-round health advantages. Pumpkins are plentiful in the fall, and they also add nutrition to the dishes. Pumpkin is high in potassium, vitamins A and C, and fibre and magnesium, which offer huge health benefits.
Likewise, pumpkin seeds are superfoods. It can be asserted that their edible seeds are quite beneficial in and of themselves. These seeds are a good source of antioxidants and several essential nutrients for good health. They contain a lot of fibre and magnesium, which are beneficial for the heart as well the general health.
Can I eat raw pumpkin?
Pumpkin can indeed be consumed uncooked or raw.
Who should not take pumpkins?
Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K, which are both abundant in pumpkin seeds, can exacerbate blood thinning in persons who are already taking blood thinners. Therefore, bleeding could occur as a result. Therefore, patients should speak with their doctor before combining blood thinners and pumpkin seeds in the diet or health plan.
Is it good to eat pumpkin every day?
Individuals can improve their fibre intake by using pumpkins in their daily diet. Pumpkin is highly healthy and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Additionally, it is a food that is good for weight loss due to its low-calorie count.
Its nutrients and antioxidants may strengthen the immune system, improve vision, reduce the risk of developing some cancers, and improve the condition of the heart and skin.
Are pumpkins dangerous, and do they have any adverse effects when consumed?
Pumpkins are safe and healthful to consume, and they are not harmful. Eating pumpkin has no known negative effects as long as a patient is not allergic.