Vision Health. Pumpkin provides vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene (vitamin A once eaten), which supports eye health and prevents degenerative damage. Vitamin A helps the retina absorb and process light. Lutein and zeaxanthin are thought to help prevent cataracts.
Heart Health. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in pumpkins help treat hypertension, reduce risk of stroke, and support overall heart health. Also pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, a plant-based chemical that reduces LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
Immune Health. The powerful combination of nutrients found in pumpkins, including vitamin C, and beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A once eaten helps your body fight infections and viruses while providing an overall boost to the immune system.
Dermal Health. Carotenoids found in pumpkins neutralize free radicals, which may help prevent wrinkles on the surface of the skin. Also the pulp makes a great facial mask that naturally exfoliates and soothes for supple, younger-looking skin.
Mood Stability. The amino acid tryptophan found in pumpkin seeds is important to serotonin production, a major contributor to a stable mood, sunny disposition, and a bright outlook on life.
Post Workout Recovery. Potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after an intense workout and keeps muscles functioning properly; pumpkins contain more per serving than bananas.
Women’s Fertility. Consuming more iron found in plant sources such as pumpkins appear to to promote fertility in women of child-bearing age according to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications.
Diabetic Treatment. In some preliminary scientific testing, pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces.
Weight Management. Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer. With seven grams of fiber per cup, pumpkin provides more fiber than two slices of whole-grain bread.
Cancer Prevention. The natural antioxidant beta-carotene in pumpkin may play a role in cancer prevention. According to the National Cancer Institute, food sourced beta-carotene along with plant sterols in the pumpkin seeds stave off cancer better than supplements.
Fall and winter offer many opportunities to incorporate pumpkin in your meals. Soups, deserts, salads, and even a butter substituteare just a few ways to use this fruit. That’s right! This low-calorie, low-fat, low-sugar member of the family Cucurbitaceae and relative to gourds, squash, cucumbers and melons is classified botanically as a berry. Culinarily, it is used as a vegetable. Fresh food grade or "sugar pumpkin" is best; canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is a good second option offering similar benefits and significantly more vitamin K.
Enjoy your pumpkin and Happy Halloween!