Pumpkin, the standard porch-sitting gourd that declares the fall season is in full swing, is more than just a feast for the eyes. It’s also something worth feasting on in the kitchen, as it has many health benefits.
Plus, because pumpkin can be eaten both raw and cooked, it fits within a range of dietary lifestyles.
Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants, making them an overall health superstar. In particular, their alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which are also carotenoids, are used by the body to help improve vision and maintain healthy skin.(1). Such antioxidants also give the immune system a boost and play a role in cancer prevention.(1)
Additional Health Benefits of Pumpkin
As if that’s not beneficial for health as it is, there are several other reasons why pumpkins should be part of your next food shopping experience.
For those watching their weight, pumpkins make a great snack. They’re naturally low in fat, and just one cup has 49 calories.(2) The addition of cinnamon, which also has several health benefits including the potential to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay and reduce bad cholesterol levels, adds a sweet flavor that imparts more of a dessert-like taste.(3)
Eating pumpkin is also good for skin. Because pumpkins contain vitamin C, which helps in the creation of collagen, as well as zinc, which may regulate acne-causing hormones, they’re an ideal food to increase skin’s elasticity and aid in skin repair.(1)
Finally, it’s important to not overlook their seeds. They contain large amounts of tryptophan, which produces the feel-good neurotransmitters that lead to relaxation.(1) Therefore, they’re a go-to choice to help regulate mood.
How to Choose a Pumpkin, Plus Recipe Ideas
When shopping for a pumpkin, be sure to look for “sweet pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins,” choosing one with a dried stem since it’s a telltale sign that the pumpkin was on the vine longer and will therefore taste sweeter.(2)
As mentioned before, they can be used to satisfy a range of dietary preferences.
They can also be roasted and enjoyed with vegetables.
The options are virtually endless when it comes to incorporating this healthy and very tasty food in your diet.
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