One of my favorite holidays is Halloween. I love using my imagination and coming up with a new costume to wear every year. I love the spooky decorations, scary haunted houses, and festive corn mazes. I love the timeliness with autumn fare of pies, jams, breads, and dipped apples. What I especially love is it’s the also season of pumpkins. Large ones, small ones, funny shaped ones, they are all good in my eyes as pumpkin is one of my favorite fruits.
Pumpkins are a superfood, packed with healthy goodness! Not only are they loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and K, they are packed with minerals including magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron. Pumpkins are also high in antioxidants – carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Pumpkin is also an excellent source of fiber. Just one-half cup serving contains five grams. Diets rich in fiber may prevent cancer and heart disease and help to reduce bad cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, promote healthy digestion, and play a role in weight loss.
The vitamin C found in pumpkins boosts immunity, reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and regulates cholesterol levels. Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin E which promotes healthy skin by protecting the body from sun damage and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.
Externally, pumpkin is excellent for treating burns, insect bites, inflammations, and abscesses. It’s used to soothe irritated skin and also reverses skin damage caused by the sun. Pumpkin softens the skin and makes it glow plus diminishes the inflammatory processes of mucous. A number of hydrating and anti-wrinkle creams actually contain pumpkin as an ingredient.
The seeds in pumpkins also contain essential vitamins and minerals. Also called pepitas, they are a good source of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and are an excellent plant-based source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, fats that are heart and brain healthy. They are very high in protein (one ounce of seeds provides about seven grams of protein) and are a good source of fiber (one cup of the seeds has six grams of fiber). Pumpkin seeds additionally contain the strongest therapeutic effects, helping to eliminate intestinal parasites, clean blood vessels, adjust cholesterol levels, and stimulate kidney activity. These seeds have an anti-inflammatory effect and an energizing role in treating cancer, leukemia, osteoporosis, sclerosis, or various diseases role.
Pumpkin seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs) which help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. The oil also contains vitamin A, which helps keep eyes healthy and stimulates the T cells of the immune system to help fight off infection. Additionally, the oil has vitamin E, which acts like lutein and zeaxanthin to scavenge free radicals in the lens of the eye.
Check back for the next blog when I share some great recipes using pumpkin!
Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.