Pumpkins are more than a decoration for Halloween and Thanksgiving. They’re even more than an ingredient for pumpkin pie. As it turns out, pumpkins are a great health food!
Why is that? Well, pumpkins are the a fantastic source of the combination of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, two carotenoids that work optimally as a team.
Carotenoids are converted to vitamin A, and pumpkin has twice as much alpha-carotene as carrots. I’ll bet that gives you a clue what pumpkin is good for.
If you guessed your eyesight, then yay! You guessed right. The carotenoids in pumpkin work to help protect your body against macular degeneration and cataracts. These carotenes also help protect your body against other health conditions linked to free radical damage, including some degenerative aspects of aging. Anything that knocks off free radicals is a good thing!
Not only that, carotenoid-rich foods like pumpkin have been shown to reduce the risk for cardiovascular problems and cancers of the lungs, colon, breast and skin.
The seeds of pumpkins are a healthy food also. They are slightly sweet and have a nutty taste. Pumpkin seeds are one of the most flavorful and nutritious seeds available. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and also an excellent source of phytosterols.
Additionally, pumpkin seeds are a very good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. They are also a good source of other minerals including zinc, iron and copper. These seeds are a good source of protein, along with providing vitamin K.
Pumpkin seeds have been used for over 100 years to help enlarged prostate glands. The phytosterols in the seeds are also helpful in lowering cholesterol.
Eating unroasted pumpkin seeds also helps alleviate motion sickness when eaten at the time nausea starts.
Besides helping motion sickness and enlarged prostate glands, pumpkins are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps alleviate arthritis symptoms.
Whether you eat the flesh or the seeds, you’ll get pumpkin benefits!