The pumpkin harvest begins in earnest, as these bright orange masterpieces grace gardens with the anticipation of roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pies, and jack-o-lanterns. Aside from the deliciousness and fun around pumpkins, there are also a number of healing properties related to this member of the Cucurbitaceae family. So get your dehydrator, blender, or oven ready, because it is time to reap the healing benefits of pumpkin.
Pumpkin’s nutritional profile
As the bright orange color may suggest, the mighty pumpkin is full of life promoting nutrients. These are made available through the meat and the seeds. Some of the nutrients available in pumpkin meat include:
- Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin A, C, and E. 1 cup of raw pumpkin yields 8567 IU of Vitamin A, which is 171% of the RDA.
- Good source of B-vitamins, including riboflavin, folate, B6, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
- Rich source of potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorous, iron, and magnesium.
- An excellent source of poly-phenolic compounds such as beta-carotene (converted to vitamin A in the body), lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin.
- A fine source of fiber with about 3 grams of fiber per one cup serving.
In addition to the meat, one can also consume the green seeds inside their shell, which also provides a concentrated dose of nutrition, such as:
- An excellent source of vitamin K
- Rich in riboflavin, folate, thiamin, B6, and niacin
- Good source of vitamin A
- Excellent source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, and potassium
- Contains beneficial amounts of selenium
- Excellent source of healthy fats and dietary fiber
- Quality source of vegan protein (1 ounce yields 7 grams of protein)
What’s really scary is that the pumpkin is known more for its role in the Halloween tradition, than what it can do for you and your health!
Pumpkin health benefits
So with all these nutrients, then pumpkin is bound to help prevent or resolve certain health conditions, right? Turns out, it has been implicated in helping with the following:
- Aids in weight loss (due to fiber content)
- May reduce cancer risk (due to the antioxidant beta-carotene)
- Protects the skin (due to carotenoids)
- Sharpens eyesight (due to high levels of vitamin A)
- Maintains prostate health (due to zinc content of seeds)
- Helps boost mood and prevent depression (due to tryptophan content in seeds)
- Improves heart and muscle function (due to potassium and magnesium content)
- Improves immune system (due to zinc and vitamin C content)
- Helps expel intestinal worms (due to cucurbitins)
If you want to look and feel beautiful, consider pumpkin as part of your diet.
The most common preparation methods of pumpkin involve desserts like custards and pies. One of the simplest ways to enjoy the contents is to gently roast or dehydrate the seeds in sea salt and other preferred spices.
One of the most popular ways to consume pumpkin is in a hot beverage like a pumpkin spiced latte. Unfortunately, the most popular source of this beverage is at Starbucks, which contains little to no resemblance of pumpkin and plenty of other unsavory ingredients.
Make your own pumpkin spiced latte with real pumpkin and nutritious ingredients, and enjoy the healing benefits it has to offer!