10 Unique Health Benefits of Pumpkin – Nutrition, Calories, Uses & More

10 Unique Health Benefits of Pumpkin - Nutrition, Calories, Uses & More

When we think about pumpkin, all that comes to our mind are the Halloween decorations and pumpkin pies. This plump, orange fruit is more than just a piece of décor, it also comes with benefits that can help you lead a very healthy life. A small portion of pumpkin is full of valuable nutrients with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. It not only gives you a great taste, but a great amount of nutrition linked to a lot of health benefits.

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Interesting facts About Pumpkin

  • Pumpkins are grown on each and every continent, except Antarctica.
  • In the USA, over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are produced every year.
  • Over 80% of the USA’s Pumpkin crop is available in the month of October.
  • Each Pumpkin has around 500 seeds inside it.
  • There are more than 45 varieties of pumpkins in the world.

Health Benefits & Uses of Pumpkin

1. Keeps the Heart Healthy

Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are very beneficial for your heart’s health. Being a good source of anti-oxidants, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids, pumpkins help in keeping your heart in good health. A study done by the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies involved 35 postmenopausal women and found that pumpkin seed oil supplements reduced diastolic blood pressure by 7% and increased the “good” HDL cholesterol by 16% over a 12-week period.

How to Use: Make some fresh pumpkin juice, add few diced pumpkin into the blender and add apple juice to it. Blend it and savour the fruity Pumpkin juice.

2. Lowers Blood Sugar Level

Pumpkin is a great sweetner which is quite beneficial for people struggling to control their blood sugar levels. A study by College of Food Science and Nutrition Engineering, China Agriculture University found that adding pumpkin juice or seed powder to your diet reduces blood sugar level in people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.

How to Use: Make apple pumpkin juice for yourself that will help lowering the risk of diabetes. Blend 2 cups of water, 350 ml of apple juice, 450 ml pumpkin puree and pour it for yourself. Add a few drops of lemon for taste. Kick away diabetes!

3. Regulates Blood Pressure

Pumpkin is a rich source of fibre, potassium and Vitamin C.  All these nutrients help in controlling the blood pressure levels. A study led by World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva has found out that consuming enough potassium is as important as decreasing sodium intake for treatment of high blood pressure.

How to Use: If you are bored of those regular pumpkin dishes, make a pumpkin banana milkshake that will help your potassium intake in large amounts. Take a frozen banana, pumpkin puree and milk, blend them together and add cinnamon powder for your taste. Say bye bye to Hypertension!

3. Promotes Digestive Health

Pumpkin is a great source of dietary fibre and its whole seeds provide 5.2 grams of fibre in a single serving. With a high amount of fibre, it helps to keep your digestive system free of toxins that promotes digestive health.

How to Use: Make a spinach pumpkin salad for yourself if you want to promote good digestive health. For taste you can add olive oil and seasonings you like.

4. Reduces the Risk of Certain Cancers

A diet rich in pumpkin can help in lowering the risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers. A study led by the Unit of Genetic Epidemiology, Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center confirmed that regular intake of Pumpkin can reduce the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

How to Use:  Make a pumpkin bread for yourself and enjoy its amazing taste along with its great health benefits. While making pumpkin, follow the same procedure of making the bread and instead of using water or milk as base, use pumpkin puree.

5. Helps in Losing Weight

Being a rich source of antioxidants and fibre, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds make you feel full faster. This helps in lower intake of food and also helps in satiating your hunger for a long time. As they are high in fibre, it takes your body to digest it in more time, making you feel full.

How to Use: Take pumpkin seeds and add a mixture of garlic salt, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tablespoons margarine melted, 1/2 teaspoon salt to it. Preheat the oven and bake it for 1 hour. Much the pumpkin seeds whenever you feel hungry.

6. Improves Sleep

An intake of tryptophan which is an amino acid helps in taking a sound sleep. Pumpkins are a natural source of tryptophan which helps in making your sleep trouble-free. A study found that consuming 1mg of tryptophan daily is necessary to get quality sleep.

How to Use: Consuming pumpkin seeds with a pinch of salt every day before a good night sleep can help you cure insomnia.

7. Promotes Hair Growth

Pumpkin is a fruit that holds a lot of nutritional value, this magic fruit can also help you in promoting your hair growth. Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds contain a unique amino acid known as cucurbitin that helps in growth of hair. Apart from this, the presence of Vitamin C also helps in giving your hair a nice texture and volume.

How to Use: Make a pumpkin hair mask by adding pumpkin pulp in pumpkin seed oil and coconut oil. Ally it on your roots and hair. Rinse it with lukewarm water and let your hair shine bright!

8. Helps in Building Immunity

A regular intake of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds can help you fight with a lot of diseases and viral infections that may lead to cold, flu, fatigue, and other ailments. The presence of large amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals help in building a good immune system.

How to Use: Make a great bowl of hummus and consume it with pita bread which is a very healthy snack. It can be made by adding pumpkin puree in seasonings and having it as a snack.

9. Lowers the Risk of Arthritis

Pumpkin has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties that are best known to reduce the pain caused during arthritis. Arthritis is caused due to weakening of bones which causes a lot of pain in the joints. Therefore, regular intake of pumpkin or pumpkin seeds can help in lowering the risk of arthritis.

How to Use: Munch some baked seeds every night before sleeping or use pumpkin seed oil in your diet daily. This will help in reducing the pain caused during arthritis.

Also Read: Benefits Of Pineapple

Nutritional Value of Pumpkin

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 26 Kcal 1%
Carbohydrates 6.50 g 5%
Protein 1.0 g 2%
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.50%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g 2%
Vitamins    
Folates 16 μg 4%
Niacin 0.600 mg 4%
Pantothenic acid 0.298 mg 6%
Pyridoxine 0.061 mg 5%
Riboflavin 0.110 mg 8.50%
Thiamin 0.050 mg 4%
Vitamin A 7384 IU 246%
Vitamin C 9.0 mg 15%
Vitamin E 1.06 mg 7%
Vitamin K 1.1 mcg 1%
Electrolytes    
Sodium 1 mg 0.50%
Potassium 340 mg 7%
Minerals    
Calcium 21 mg 2%
Copper 0.127 mg 14%
Iron 0.80 mg 10%
Magnesium 12 mg 3%
Manganese 0.125 mg 0.50%
Phosphorus 44mg 5%
Selenium 0.3 mcg <0.5%
Zinc 0.32 mg 3%
Phyto-nutrients    
Carotene-α 515 mcg
Carotene-ß 3100 mcg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 2145 mcg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 1500 mcg

 

Note: This table shows a fresh pumpkin’s nutritive properties per 100 grams.

Also Read: Guava CaloriesApple Nutrition

Risks While Consuming Pumpkin

  • An excessive intake of Pumpkin seeds may cause stomach-ache.
  • Overcooking pumpkin or pumpkin seeds might result in losing its nutrients.
  • It should not be consumed by pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • It might lower glucose level in blood for people suffering from Hypoglycaemia.
  • Make sure you eat right amount of pumpkin or pumpkin seeds as an overdose may cause weight gain.
  • It should not be consumed by people who are suffering from low-blood pressure.
  • Must not be consumed by people on Diuretic drugs.

How to Consume Pumpkin?

Pumpkin- the plump fruit, can be consumed in a lot of ways, whether it is raw or cooked. Here are some amazing recipes you can try when consuming pumpkin-

1. Pumpkin Hummus

Blend lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt, while adding garbanzo beans and olive oil until the paste is smooth. Add pumpkin, cumin, and cayenne pepper until well blended. Refrigerate the mixture and eat with healthy pita bread.

2. Pumpkin Soup

Heat a pan and add some olive oil to it, stir fry onion and add a pinch of salt to it. Add pumpkin puree and vegetable stock while letting it boil for 40 minutes. Your pumpkin soup is ready, pour some cream if you want to add to the taste.

3. Pumpkin Pancakes

Make the pancake batter and add one cup pumpkin puree to it. Blend it until the batter becomes thick. Cook the pancakes on a medium flame and add some maple syrup to it or may be some Nutella to add to its taste.

4. Pumpkin Salad

Bake some pumpkin sliced cubes, add fresh lettuce in a bowl along with cherry tomatoes, onions, and olives. Mix the contents and add some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fetta cheese to it. Your Pumpkin salad is ready!

5. Pumpkin Juice

Blend some sliced cubes of pumpkin, one sliced apple without its peel, and a few drops of lemon. For a dash of freshness, you can add some mint leaves to it. Pour it and drink to feel refreshed and healthy.

Fun Facts About Pumpkin

  • The word “pumpkin” first showed up in the fairy tale Cinderella.
  • Morton, Illinois, is the “Pumpkin Capital of the World” being the highest producer of pumpkins.
  • The world’s heaviest pumpkin weighed over 2,600 pounds in Germany in the year 2016.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 3,699 pounds
  • Pumpkins are made of 90% water, which makes them a low-calorie fruit.

Conclusion

With such magical benefits, pumpkin is a fruit that you must include in your diet to stay healthy forever.


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