The Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkin

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Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients including alpha and beta carotene. Pumpkin seeds also have health benefits.

Many of us think of the humble pumpkin simply as a Halloween decoration, or something you use to fill a pie with. However, the pumpkin is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. It is one of the healthiest foods you can consume. You turn it it into a soup, roast it or add to stews of your choosing. It also makes a great muffin base. The pumpkin is an excellent low calorie food.

Health Benefits

Pumpkins are a great source of alpha and beta-carotenes, fiber, pantothenic acid, magnesium and vitamins C and E. Both the alpha and beta carotenes are powerful antioxidents and excellent disease fighting nutrients. The body converts both of these into vitamin A, which helps with vision and boosts immune system function. Beta carotene may also have anti-aging properties, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

The pumpkin is also a great source of fiber. Studies have shown that eating enough fiber can help lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar levels, help protect against heart disease, and may help with weight loss in some cases. Most of us do not get enough fiber from our modern Western diets. Eating more plant-based foods is the key.

Antioxidants in Pumpkin

There are also good levels of vitamin C in pumpkin. Vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system, can reduce high blood pressure and stabilize cholesterol levels. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, with anti aging properties, important for healthy skin and protection against some cancers. The potassium found in pumpkin is good for balancing the body’s fluid levels, and is critical for bone health. Pumpkins are also rich in magnesium which aids in maintaining healthy bones.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten either raw or roasted. They contain essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They are a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds make a great in-between-meal snack, or a good addition to salads. Pumpkin seed oil is also used as a salad dressing.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

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Fiona Wilkinson
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Posted on Dec 31, 2010
Kaleidoscope Acres
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Fiona Wilkinson

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