Pumpkins, as a whole, are eaten around the world – even down to the seeds, and they contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that promise to improve your health.
Pumpkins are not just used for baking pies at Thanksgiving time nor just for jack-o-lanterns at Halloween; they are very versatile and are used in all types of meals for all types of occasions, while their health benefits remain a mystery to most people. Instead of tossing that pulp and seeds or throwing away the shell, use the entire pumpkin and reap good health.
Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha carotene, potassium and protein. Pumpkins have barely any fat, and the fat they do have are mostly the good kinds (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). They also contain small amounts of dietary fiber, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
What’s So Great About Pumpkins?
Promotes Heart Health – The high amount of beta carotene present in pumpkins are what researchers believe can greatly reduce your chances of having a heart attack. Studies have proven that beta carotene, as well as fiber in pumpkins, are highly beneficial to the heart. Pumpkin seed oil also seems to help high blood pressure and high cholesterol medications work better.
Promotes Digestive Health – Pumpkins have a good deal of fiber, which helps to keep you regular and bowel movements smoother. As a result, you lower your chances of having constipation, diarrhea, or hemorrhoids. Fiber also aids in weight loss and cancer prevention.
Protects the Prostate – Pumpkin seeds stop the prostate from growing, which can have adverse effects on the male sexual function and other problems. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and cucurbitacins, which triggers production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that consequently makes the prostate grow. Pumpkin seeds even stop the natural occurrence of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), in which the prostate enlarges; BPH affects most men eventually, so pumpkin seeds are a natural defense.
Tackles Arthritis – The oil derived from pumpkin seeds will theoretically ease arthritis symptoms such as swelling and inflammation, based on highly successful animal studies done on rats. The good thing is that pumpkin seed oil is all natural, so there are no crazy side effects associated with it. If you suffer from arthritis, you can use it in your cooking to see if it helps you.
Protects Vision – The beta carotene and vitamin A in pumpkins also protects your vision, and since vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, the effect is even greater when pumpkin is eaten with a food containing healthy fats like nuts or coldwater fish. Pumpkin pie with pecans or walnuts added sounds like a great solution.
Boosts Libido – Since pumpkin seeds help to keep the prostate at normal size and functioning well, a man’s sex drive won’t be negatively affected. Zinc in pumpkin seeds also keeps testosterone levels elevated, which directly affects the male libido and can give him that extra boost he needs in the bedroom.
Entirely Edible – Pumpkin pulp, as we know, is used in pies, but also in soups, sauces and other meals. The seeds can be roasted and salted for a great snack. The leaves can be used as a garnish or added to soups. Smaller, unripened pumpkins, including their shells, can be chopped and steamed like zucchini and eaten as a vegetable.