benefits of pumpkins
Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that is native to North America, where it is particularly popular during Thanksgiving and Halloween. Here are more reasons to eat pumpkin:
It is rich in vitamins and minerals: Pumpkin contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C, B2, and E, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, and protein. It is particularly rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid which is converted by the body into vitamin A. Despite being packed with all these nutrients and minerals, pumpkin is relatively low in calories and contains 94 percent water.
It is packed with strong antioxidants: Pumpkin contains many antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, that can protect body cells from free radical damage which causes diseases. These antioxidants can also help lower the risk of certain cancers, such as that of the stomach, throat, pancreas, and breast.
It boosts the immune system: The vitamins A and C in pumpkins can help enhance the immune system. Its vitamin E, iron, and folate content may also strengthen the immune system.
It supports eye health: In addition to vitamin A, pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin. These vitamins and nutrients can help preserve and improve eyesight.
It is good for the skin: The beta-carotene in pumpkin also serves as a natural sunblock. Pumpkin also contains vitamin C, which is needed by the body to produce collagen — a protein that keeps the skin strong and healthy. In addition, lutein, zeaxanthin, iron, and many other antioxidants can enhance the skin’s defenses against ultraviolet rays.
Incorporating pumpkin to your diet is relatively easy because of its delicious sweet flavor and versatility. It can be roasted, pureed into soup, or baked into pies, custards, and pancakes. Its seeds are also edible and packed with nutrients.