Pumpkin Power | Use Pumpkin to Improve Your Health!

10 Oct

turn-pumpkin-guts-into-healthy-treats

Look on the shelves, read the ads, see the patches – wherever you look, there’s PUMPKIN! While we typically think of pies, lattes, bread and other tasty treats when we see pumpkin, there are a whole host of health benefits that go along with it!   It’s finally pumpkin season and there are so many reasons to celebrate:

Immunity

Pumpkins are an essential source of Vitamin C – which can ward off colds.  One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams is recommended for women need daily (men need around 75 milligrams).

Weight Loss

Pumpkin is an amazing source of fiber, and with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories.  A fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds. A 2009 study found that people who ate a whole apple before lunch ate fewer calories throughout the meal than people who ate applesauce or drank apple juice.

Post-Workout Recovery

A cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium than a whole banana, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422.  Extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Much like turkey, pumpkin contains tryptophan, the amino acid that contributes to sleepiness.  Tryptophan is also responsible for helping the body make serotonin, neurotransmitter that helps you relax and unwind. Not only do pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, the serotonin will improve your mood!

Protect Your Skin AND Fight Off Cancer

Like the carrot, sweet potato and the butternut squash (all orange), pumpkins have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.   Those same free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin that may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free.

Eye Sight

About that vitamin A:  A cup of cubed pumpkin contains almost twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in dim light. It has also been found to slow the decline of retinal function in those with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness. Bonus: Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones.  It’s an anti-aging nutrient that jump-starts your skin’s cell renewal process and increases the production of collagen for smooth, youthful-looking skin.

Heart Health

Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.  In addition, pumpkin seed oil is full of phytoestrogens, which research shows are beneficial for preventing hypertension. When researchers tested a diet supplement with the oil, they found that it helped lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in just 12 weeks.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

While I’m not suggesting that you go out and down a few venti PSLs – definitely consider adding fresh and pureed pumpkin to your recipes/meals.  It’s easy to find this time of year and the recipes are bountiful.   When you’re out picking your pumpkins to carve, pick up an extra one and make it part of your next meal!

~Dayna
PX Studio

 

Article Sources:
Health (www.health.com)
Nutrition Data (www.nutritiondata.self.com)
WebMD (www.webmd.com)
Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com)
Daily Burn (www.dailyburn.com)
National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov)
National Institute of Health (www.nih.gov)

 

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