Pumpkin is a type of squash and is considered a vegetable. Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds are nutrient powerhouses. It’s packed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and can be consumed regularly to help you thrive throughout fall and winter.
Pumpkins help boost immunity to keep you well. Pumpkin and seeds are high in vitamin C and antioxidants including beta-carotene and other carotenoids. In fact, pumpkin is one of the best sources of beta-carotene and the other synergistic carotenoids. Together, they give pumpkins their bright, eye-catching color. Beta-carotene is good for your immune system because it’s converted into vitamin A, triggering the creation of white blood cells, which fight infection and help keep you well.
Pumpkins help keep your eyes healthy. In addition to their immune benefits, beta-carotene and the other carotenoids, including lutein, are important for eye health. But these are only some of the many antioxidants found in pumpkin that can help you prevent degenerative damage to your eyes. According to the National Institute of Health, a cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A — which aids vision, particularly in dim light.
Pumpkins help keep your skin healthy. Eating pumpkin can help improve the appearance and texture of your skin. The antioxidants in pumpkins, particularly the carotenoids and vitamins C and E, help improve your skin’s health.
Pumpkins are a heart-healthy choice. The potassium in pumpkins can have a positive effect on blood pressure. A 2017 study published in “Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases” suggests that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium (salt) intake for treating high blood pressure. Another study showed how participants with the highest amount of beta-carotene had approximately half the risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest amount. The soluble fiber in pumpkin is also useful for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
Pumpkins can help reduce inflammation and the risk of arthritis. Regular intake of the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, which is found in pumpkin, can cool unwanted inflammation. A study also showed how increasing consumption of this carotenoid is associated with a reduced risk of developing inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
So enjoy your pumpkin this year and reap the harvest of health! For more information, contact Claudann Jones, Smith County Extension Agent for Family and Community Health at 903-590-2980 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like our Facebook page: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Smith County. Stay well and stay safe.