6 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin
If you still have pumpkins lying around and you’re not sure what to do with them we have the perfect solution…
Over recent years pumpkins have been reduced to a spice combination for lattes, sugar-filled pies and gourds to be mutilated for display purposes. The pumpkin fall trend has been great for publicity’s sake, but the many health benefits have fallen to the wayside. Keep reading to tap into the full potential of this versatile fruit (that’s right, pumpkin is technically a fruit)!
A half cup of pumpkin puree from a popular American brand has 3 grams of fiber and only 50 calories! That is just half a gram short of the fiber in a full serving of broccoli. Pumpkin is naturally sweet offering 3 grams of natural sugar. That much fiber will help you feel fuller, longer; reducing the urge to snack. Those natural sugars will satisfy your sweet tooth. Also, pumpkin in roughly 90% water so you can munch guilt-free!
Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. Pumpkin’s most distinguishing quality (the beautiful orange color) is due to an exorbitant amount of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. A single serving of pumpkin contains 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it a leader in promoting optical health. Not to mention pumpkin’s lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cataracts and may even slow the development of macular degeneration. Pumpkins aren’t just pretty to look at….
To go with your better vision and a slimmer waist, how about a boosted immune system? Our bodies fight infections naturally, but without proper nutrition they become weak. As previously mentioned, pumpkin offers high doses of vitamin A and in that same simple half cup, you get 20% of your vitamin C. Pumpkin oil even helps fight various bacteria and fungi (which also assists with the longevity of your Jack-o-lanterns).
All the amazing things pumpkin can do to the inside, imagine what it can do for our largest organ; our skin. Beta-carotene in pumpkin helps protect us from the sun’s wrinkle-causing UV rays. The pulp also makes a great, all-natural face mask that exfoliates and soothes. All you need is 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin, an egg, a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of milk. Mix, then apply it, wait for 20 minutes and wash it off with warm water.
Lower Cancer Risk
Beta-carotene is great for your eyes and skin, but it’s also showing promising research results in fighting certain kinds of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer. Vitamins A and C are “a kind of cell defense squad”. As they are both antioxidants, and they act as shields for your cells against cancer-causing free radicals.
It (May) Help Treat Diabetes
In scientific tests, pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces. These are initial results but if you have diabetes or even just an elevated Hemoglobin A1c, snacking on pumpkin or making it a staple in your home may help you get those numbers down.