Fall is finally here and so is pumpkin season! While they are commonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkins are scientifically a fruit because they contain seeds. Pumpkin are a type of winter squash that belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and are native to North America. In the United States, pumpkin refers to Cucurbita pepo, which is an orange type of winter squash. Beyond tasting yummy in many types of recipes, pumpkins are very nutritious and are linked to several health benefits.
Here are 3 health benefits from pumpkin:
- Pumpkins are made up of 94% water and are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are especially high in vitamin A and their orange color indicates they are high in beta carotene which is a carotenoid that the body then turns into vitamin A. This important vitamin is a nutrient that is key to vision, growth, cell division, reproduction and immunity.
- These spooky fruit are considered a nutrient-dense food which means pumpkins are low in calories while remain packed with nutrients. For a one cup serving, pumpkin contains only 50 calories which makes it a weight-loss friendly food. Pumpkins also a good source of fiber that can also help curb appetite and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Free radicals are molecules that are produced by the body’s metabolic process and are highly unstable. They do have useful roles like destroying harmful bacteria but when in excess, they can also do damage in the body in the form of oxidative stress. The high carotenoid content of pumpkins may help them in the protection against heart disease and certain types of cancer. These carotenoids include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthan. These compounds can neutralize free radicals which can stop them from damaging your cells.