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  • 4/13/2013

Reasons to eat more Pumpkin Squash

pumpkin-squash

A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds). They typically have a thick, orange or yellow shell, creased from the stem to the bottom, containing the seeds and pulp. Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use, and are used both in food and recreation.  Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers.

The Nutrition of Pumpkin Squash

Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)

The fruit contains some of the highest amounts of beta-carotene (an antioxidant that gives its rich orange color) which the body converts into vitamin A. This vitamin has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Research has established that vitamin A promotes the health of lungs and reduces the risk of lung cancer. It also helps to prevent emphysema which stems from cigarette smoking or pollutants in the workplace and environment. Emphysema hinders respiratory functions and causes breathlessness. Vitamin A can help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Oxidized cholesterol accumulates in blood vessels and forms plaque which increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Regular consumption of pumpkin can improve your cardiovascular health. The anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit can also help to reduce severity of symptoms if you suffer from asthma or arthritis.

B Vitamins

Folate (vitamin B9) in pumpkin can support your health in various ways. It helps to break down homocysteine, which is a dangerous by-product of metabolism. Homocysteine has the capacity to damage blood vessel walls which increases the risk of heart attack. Plenty of folate in the diet can help lower homcysteine levels and support the health of your heart. Folate has also been found helpful in protecting colon cells. Pumpkin is a good item in the diet if you want to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Vitamin C

The fruit has a powerful antioxidant capacity due to the high content of vitamin C. This helps to boost your immunity. Common infections such as earache, sore throat, colds and the flu needn’t trouble you as much when pumpkin is regularly included in the diet.

Potassium

Regular intake of pumpkin can help to stabilize your blood pressure. The fruit is a good source of potassium which helps to lower blood pressure. This is a boost to cardiovascular health.

Dietary Fiber

It has been shown that fiber can help fight certain cancers. Fiber accelerates food transit through the gut. Colon cells are therefore exposed to carcinogens for a shorter while. The fiber also helps to eliminate carcinogens from the body. Regular intake of pumpkin can help lower your risk of colon cancer.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkins keep eyesight sharp. A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200-percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin-A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light.

Aids in Weight Loss

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, increasing fiber intake is one of the key dietary guidelines toward improving your health. Pumpkins provide a high source of fiber which aids in keeping your weight under control and keeping your digestive system regular. It also helps you slow down on your eating so that your body can detect when it’s full.  The daily recommended intake for fiber is about 20 to 35 grams.  One cup of canned or cooked pumpkin provides about 7 grams of fiber.

Pumpkin Seeds are Heart Healthy

Pumpkin seeds are high in phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant components that aid in keeping stable levels of cholesterol and help reduce the risk of heart disease. ”‌Because they have very low systemic absorption and are already present in healthy diets, increasing the intake of phytosterols may be a practical way to reduce coronary heart disease with minimum risk”‌, according to a study done by the Department of Internal Medicine.

Boosts Your Mood

Just like turkey, pumpkins are a natural source of L-tryptophan, an amino acid important to the production of serotonin. Serotonin can help stabilize your moods by helping to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Natural Skin Enhancer

As mentioned previously, pumpkins are an excellent source or carotenoids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E. Beta-carotene is a great anti-aging carotenoid that helps neutralizes free radicals and fights wrinkles. The essential fatty acids help to provide protection from high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer and promote healthy skin by improving elasticity. Vitamins A, C, and E also help cleanse and hydrate the skin. To reap the benefits of the powerful antioxidants in pumpkin, make sure you save the pulp and add it to your skincare recipes or baked goods.


Sources:

lovorganicfarm.com

fitday.com

todaysthv.com

truththeory.com


Other links:

King of Fruits

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