Prevea Health

The Potential of Pumpkin

 
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Pumpkin is a fall favorite!  It tastes delicious, is versatile in many recipes, and better yet, is chock-full of wonderful nutrients.  Here’s why you should add pumpkin to your list of super foods.
 
Pumpkin protects your skin. Carotenoids, found in pumpkin, may not only keep cancer cells at bay, but may also keep your skin wrinkle-free.
 
Pumpkin is high in potassium. 1 cup of pumpkin contains 564 milligrams of potassium. That's more than a banana. Potassium can help to combat muscle cramps and spasms, and enhance your muscle strength. 
 
Pumpkin is good for your heart. Rich in vitamin C, fiber and potassium, it supports heart health. Vitamin C helps to prevent coronary artery disease and aids in strengthening blood vessel walls. Fiber protects your heart with its ability to help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing your sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension.
 
Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber. One cup of fresh pumpkin has only 49 calories, but three grams of fiber. Fiber keeps you feeling full, helps control blood sugar levels, aids in achieving healthy weight and helps maintain bowel health.
 
Don't forget the pumpkin seeds! They have many health benefits, including:
  • Phytosterols (plant-based substances) that reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol."
  • Tryptophan (an amino acid) important in the production of serotonin.  Seratonin helps to reduce depression and regulate anxiety.
  • Magnesium deficiency, especially in the older populations, is linked to insulin resistance, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are important for heart and liver health.

There you have it! Next time you buy a pumpkin to decorate or carve for fall festivities, consider buying two so you can use one to reap all the benefits pumpkin has to offer.  And don't forget canned pumpkin, which is full of the same valuable nutrients (minus the seeds) as fresh. The convenience of buying canned is that you can enjoy the benefits of pumpkin year-round.