Health Benefits of Pumpkin
At this time of year, pumpkin can be found everywhere. Other than pumpkin being used for fall decorations and for Halloween, pumpkins can be prepared fresh and eaten and not just from a can.
To cook pumpkin, clean the outside and scoop out the ‘guts’ of the pumpkin: stringy mess of seeds and pulp. Pumpkin seeds can be cleaned and then roasted to be eaten or eaten raw. Pumpkin itself can be prepared in many ways for consumption. It can be boiled, steamed, roasted, sautéed, grilled and fried. Pumpkin can also be eaten raw.
Pumpkin has many health benefits. It is full of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. It is high in fiber, which helps the digestive system, and pectin, a natural probiotic, which helps gut health. Pumpkin is high in potassium, which along with calcium and magnesium, helps lower blood pressure and promotes a healthy heart. Beta-Carotene is an anti-oxidant that gives pumpkin their orange color. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A that helps support healthy eyes and reproduction and development of the body. Vitamins A, C, and E improves the immune system.
Pumpkin seeds also provide health benefits. They are rich in anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects. They are also a great source for magnesium, which helps support nerve and muscle function, healthy immune system, strengthen bones, and helps keep the heart healthy.
Although rare, some people experience side effects from eating pumpkin. It can cause upset stomach and allergic reactions such as itching and rashes. Pumpkin also has a mild diuretic effect, causing increased urination.
If you have not already incorporated pumpkin into your diet, think about it! Other than the many health benefits listed above, one cup of pumpkin contains 30 calories, which also makes it a good ‘diet’ food and because of its fiber content, it will keep you feeling full longer.
– Chandra Cunningham, DC
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