Fall is finally here. That means it is prime picking time for pumpkins. But before you carve up your next jack-o-lantern, do your health a favor and save the insides. Whether you toast and eat the seeds or use a blender to make a puree from the pulp to put in muffins, breads, and soups, the healthy powers of pumpkins are many.
Doctors and health officials consider pumpkins to be a superfood.1 This nutritious fruit is a great source of vitamins. It's also full of antioxidants like leutin, xanthin, carotenes, and fiber—all of which, your body needs to stay healthy.2
And speaking of staying healthy, here are just a few of the amazing things pumpkins can do for you.
Reduce your cholesterol.
Just like other nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds are rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols. In studies, these chemicals have been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is also known as "bad" cholesterol.3
Protect your skin.
The antioxidant beta-carotenes in pumpkin can also help you keep your skin wrinkle-free and improve its elasticity.3
Pumpkins may reduce your risk of cancer.
Pumpkins contain the antioxidant beta-carotene. This comes from a pumpkin’s orange colored skin. According to the National Cancer Institute, beta-carotene may play a role in cancer prevention.3
Work pumpkin into your workout.
One cup of cooked pumpkin has more potassium than a banana. Eating a little extra potassium after a workout can help restore your body's balance of electrolytes. It can also keep your muscles working at their best.3
Put on a smile.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan. This can aid in the production of serotonin, a chemical in your brain. Increased production of serotonin can actually boost your mood.3
Your daily dose of magnesium.
Just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds has nearly half of your daily health requirement for magnesium. Your body needs magnesium for several things, including the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, and good bowel function.4
Man up. It’s good for you.
Pumpkin seeds are important for men’s health. They are high in zinc, and research suggests that they may be good for prostate health.4
Healthy hearts and livers love pumpkin.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and fibers. By mixing flax seeds with a few handfuls of pumpkins seeds every day, you may improve the health of your heart and liver.4
Give pumpkin a chance.
These are just a few of the health benefits of pumpkin. So do your health a favor this fall. Spice up your diet by adding a little pumpkin to it. For easy and delicious pumpkin recipes, just search the Internet.
This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor.