We all love it in our pies, cupcakes or even spice lattes… However, there are more reasons than just a delicious taste to get totally obsessed with this autumn superfood!
Pumpkins are rich in fibre – around 1 cup of pumpkin flesh provides about 5 grams of fibre (we need on average 18g per day to keep our digestive system functioning well).
2. Skin health
Pumpkin contains vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene, all of which have been found to play an important role in the health of our skin. Vitamin C is not naturally made by the body and so it is important we get it from the diet every day, as it plays a part in collagen formation, helps to prevent bruising and helps with wound healing
They are also rich in carotenoids, which are fat-soluble compounds that give the flesh its orange pigment. Beta carotene and alpha carotene are the most abundant carotenoids in pumpkins and can convert to vitamin A in the body. Your eyes will thank you for that vitamin A boost! Vitamin A, or beta-carotene, is also involved in skin protection from the sun’s UVB rays and may help protect against sunburn, although sunscreen is still required!
3. Eye health
Pumpkins also contain the minerals: magnesium and potassium, which you need for good energy levels and heart health.
5. Fat burning
Pumpkin is a great high nutrient, low calorie food. With only 42 calories per cup and loaded with fibre, pumpkin will keep you fuller for longer, and helps to regulate your blood sugar levels to keep food cravings at bay, helping you to eat fewer calories and burn more fat.
6. Immune system
As indicated by their bright orange colour, pumpkins contain beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when consumed. Research has demonstrated that vitamin A plays an important role in supporting the immune system, of which around 80% is in the digestive system. Further research suggests that diet, including vitamin A, has a direct effect on immune system function.
Beta carotene also works as an antioxidant – protecting the body and supporting the immune system and slowing down ageing process.
7. Prostate health
Pumpkin seeds, which are rich in zinc, should make their way in to every man’s diet for good reason. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men, with one man in 7 likely to contract the disease. Cancerous prostates show much lower levels of zinc compared to healthy prostates and several studies have implicated impaired zinc status in the development and progression of prostate malignancy. Pumpkin is rich in Zinc; it contains more than 2mg per ounce which can contribute to the prevention of prostate cancer, research shows.
Did you know that a cup of cooked pumpkin has 564mg of potassium compared to bananas 422mg? Potassium deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness and inactive reflexes, so switch it up and rotate some pumpkin into your diet instead of solely relying on bananas for potassium.
Don’t throw away the treasure inside – the seeds!
- Pumpkin seeds are a good source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (the good fats) and fibre, essential for heart health.
- They are also packed with protein, which will keep you fuller for longer and help you to burn fat.
- Snacking on pumpkin seeds is a great way of increasing your zinc and iron intake that support our immune system and boost energy.
- The high content of the amino acid, tryptophan may make them helpful to support sleep and better moods.