Pumpkins pop up all over the place in the fall – adorning front porches and steps, decorating living spaces, and lining grocery store shelves. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin soups, and pumpkin seeds suddenly enter our diets, but these foods almost entirely disappear from most homes come winter.
Aside from the fact that they taste good, is there a health case to be made for incorporating pumpkins into your diet year-round? Yes! As a matter of fact, pumpkins are full of important nutrients and have a variety of health benefits. If you like the taste, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have pumpkin more often.
First of all, pumpkins are great for digestive health. They are full of dietary fiber and of potassium, both of which are important for good digestive system functioning and for absorbing nutrients. Eating a diet high in dietary fibre also makes you feel fuller after eating smaller amounts of food, helping to prevent overeating and curbing weight gain.
Being rich in Vitamin C and iron, pumpkins can provide you with a regular immune system boost. A stronger immune system means a better ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. While pumpkins are by no means a magical cure for colds, flues, or infections, they can be part of a healthy diet that makes such illnesses less likely and less severe.
Pumpkins are also great for your eye health. The common tip that orange fruits and vegetables can help maintain and improve eye health holds true for pumpkins because they are rich in Vitamin A and in beta-carotene, which your body can convert to Vitamin A. Though blindness caused by Vitamin deficiencies are rare in developed countries, there’s no harm in making sure you’re always getting enough of it.
Some early, but promising and exciting research also indicates that a diet rich in the nutrients provided by pumpkins can help decrease your chances of certain types of cancers. Many of the same nutrients which are involved in immune function, such as Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and beta-carotene, are also involved in the body’s cancer-fighting abilities.
Other studies have linked the phytochemicals found in pumpkins to an improvement in the symptoms of diabetes. Eating pumpkins may be able to bring down levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose, helping to control the body’s insulin levels.
If you enjoy pumpkins and the various dishes made out of them, then you could very well benefit from incorporating those nutrient-packed, orange squashes into your diet all throughout the year. You can try your hand at new recipes and ways of eating pumpkins while enjoying the health benefits that come along with them.