5 Nutritional Perks of Pumpkins
Pumpkins might be the most common symbol for Fall, and are a staple for both holiday cooking and decoration this time of year. What you might not know is that pumpkins are packed with tons of nutritional benefits, and are chock full of all kinds of good stuff for the body. As a member of the gourd family, pumpkins can be cooked similarly to zucchini and squash. Roasting them, creating a mash, or baking them with your favorite seasonings (sweet or savory) are all great options. Read on to learn more!
Packed with Potassium
Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a huge role in heart and muscle function. You have probably heard that bananas contain lots of potassium, which is true, but pumpkin actually has more (550 mg per serving compared to 420 mg per serving). So if your muscles feel cramped up after a workout, nosh on a little pumpkin for a great recovery food. Keep some cooked or mashed pumpkin handy for this purpose.
Pumpkin also contains Beta-Cryptoxanthin, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. This does a variety of positive things, but perhaps the biggest benefit is that it reduces your risk for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis, as well as other issues like periodontitis and hay fever.
That bright orange color is a dead giveaway for lots of beta-carotene (as you probably know, carrots are also chock full of the stuff). Beta-carotene is a plant carotenoid that eventually converts into vitamin A in the body, which plays a role in immune system health, vision, and glowing skin.
Don’t throw out those pumpkin seeds after carving! They contain healthy unsaturated fats that combat cholesterol. As an added bonus, the seeds are packed with fiber and protein, making them a healthy snack that you can take along with you anywhere. Just wash them off, throw them on a baking sheet with a little sea salt, and enjoy!
Low Cal, High Fiber
Pumpkins are full of water and subsequently low in calories, and they are also full of fiber to keep you feeling full in a good, non-bloated way. One cup of pumpkin contains nearly 3 grams of fiber to promote healthy digestion and metabolism. You can use pumpkin in healthy baking recipes, because they keep things moist without tons of added butter or oil. Pumpkin also goes great in soups and even pasta dishes as well!
*Disclaimer: Always consult your physician or other health care professional before seeking treatment or taking related advice herein.*
Story Credit: 5 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin by Caroline Young