If there is a perfect symbol of the fall season, it’s the pumpkin! The rotund fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) signifies the arrival of autumn and holds a lot of cultural importance during Thanksgiving and Halloween. The latter is incomplete without Jack-o-Lanterns carved out of pumpkins adorning every porch. They belong to the squash family and is called kaddu in India, where they are practically available throughout the year. The fruit with the mellow orange flesh has a mildly sweet taste, making it perfect for savoury as well as sweet dishes. In case you are wondering whether it has any health benefits, you won’t be disappointed.
1 Full of Vitamin A
The orange flesh signifies that the fruit is replete in vitamin A. It is a fat-soluble nutrient responsible for healthy skin, vision and bones. A single serving of pumpkin contains 12231 IU or 245 percent of the daily intake needed for a person. A regular addition of pumpkin to your diet takes care of your vitamin A needs.
2 Fights Cancer
The highly unstable free radicals created in your body can cause oxidative stress in the body, leading to diseases like and cancer. Pumpkins are replete in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the body by scavenging free radicals that attack your cells. In the process, they lower the risk of various cancers. Halloween 2018 Celebrations: When, Why, How and Everything About the Origin of This Spooky Festival.
3 Boosts Immunity
Pumpkin is full of vitamin A, a vital nutrient that boosts the immune system. If you are constantly falling sick and missing work, maybe it’s time you give the pumpkin a chance.
That’s not all. The vitamin C content in the fruit also quite impressive. It helps in white blood cell production, increasing wound healing and improving immune function.
4 Promotes Weight Loss
Apart from having a great nutritional profile, pumpkin is power-packed with fibre. And as we know, fibre is a weight watcher’s best friend. According to Self Nutrition Data, a single serving of pumpkin (245g) only has 49 calories. It also has 2.7g of fibre and 230g of water. Trick or Treat? What Is the History Behind the Spookiest Trend of Halloween?
Look no further if you want to include low calorie, nutritious, fibre-rich food into your diet. Pumpkins keep you fuller for longer, while supplying you with enough nutrients and keeping your weight in check.
5 Good for the Heart
By working against oxidative damage, the antioxidants in pumpkin minimise the damage on your cardiovascular health. Replete in vitamin C, A and E, and micronutrients magnesium and potassium, the fruit plays a role in maintaining heart health. It keeps blood vessels flexible and improves circulation. Even the seeds contain healthy monosaturated fats and minerals to lower inflammation in the body.
The antioxidant content in the fruit protects against the “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can narrow down the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease.
6 Promotes Healthy Skin
Tired of sallow, tired skin? You need a gigantic boost of vitamin A. The high beta-carotene content in the fruit protects your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, functioning as a natural sunscreen. Beta-carotene also benefits the skin in other ways by maintaining the health of the largest organ in your body.
The high vitamin C content in pumpkin also promotes collagen, an elastic necessary for keeping your skin youthful and healthy.
7 Good for Your Eyes
If you have been having vision problems, there’s a good chance that your diet is lacking in vitamin A. Yellow-coloured foods contain beta-carotene, which is important for a sharp eyesight. Since pumpkins contain a massive dose of vitamin A, it’s the right food to consume if you want to keep your vision in mint condition.
The best thing about pumpkin (apart from all its health benefits) is that it has a natural mild sweetness, making it a versatile fruit to cook with. It can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. Pumpkins are also used in sweets such as pies in the west. In India, pumpkin is used in curries and sabjis. In some parts of the country, pumpkin is also as a central ingredient in payasams and halwas.
So the humble pumpkin is more than just a simple Halloween decoration prop. It gives you good skin and vision. It strengthens your heart, helps you lose weight and even gives you protection against cancer.