Before you start cutting out that jack-o-lantern from that perfectly plump pumpkin you just bought and brought home to wow the kids, pause to think about and savor all the wonderful things that can come out of that big, orange piece of fruit you had always assumed was a vegetable. Start with the health benefits provided by pumpkins. They are aplenty, ranging from potential weight loss to enhanced vision to a bolstered immune system as well as a lot of other benefits in between. So before you get stuck thinking of pumpkins as nothing more than Halloween decorations or the source of the filling used in Thanksgiving pies, open your mind and body to some of the most nutritious fruit available on this green earth. OK, go ahead and enjoy that next slice of pumpkin pie – don't let us stop you from that particular delight, but while you're doing that also take note of pumpkin's many attributes when it comes to protecting or improving your health, whatever the case might be.
7 Health Benefits Derived from PumpkinsPerhaps you've never heard of pumpkin being referred to as a super food. Well, now you are about to get proof that perhaps it belongs in that elite category of edibles. Following are seven of a pumpkin's most notable possible health benefits.
- Weight loss. Because pumpkins are abundant in fiber, consuming the fruit can slow your digestion, making you feel full longer and thus making you less likely to eat too much (or at least not eat too much between one meal and the next). But wait, there's more: pumpkins are quite light on calories, with canned pumpkin about 90 percent water, per webmd.com, saving on the calories and helping to keep you hydrated to boot.
- Bolstered immunity. The pulp and seeds extracted from pumpkins pack an immunity wallop in small packages. Both are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. These work overtime to boost your immune system thanks to their potent provision of a combination of nutrients, per medicalnewstoday.com. Beta-carotene, for instance, when consumed, gets converted into vitamin A, which in turn spurs the production of infection-fighting white blood cells.
- Regulate blood pressure. Pumpkin's benefits extend to your heart as well. In terms of helping you maintain a healthy blood pressure level, pumpkin provides ample potassium – perhaps more than what is found in bananas – with potassium able to treat hypertension in much the same way as decreasing sodium (salt) intake does. For good measure, per medicalnewstoday.com, boosting potassium consumption has also been linked to a decreased risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, and maintenance of proper bone mineral density.
- Control diabetes. Pumpkin's plant compounds, as found in the fruit's seeds and pulp, have been shown to enhance the absorption of glucose into your tissues and intestines, while balancing liver glucose levels. These attributes have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, per medicalnewstoday.com.
- Provide energy. Per goodhousekeeping.com, one cup of canned pumpkin contains more than double the fiber of the same amount of kale, a noted fiber provider, meaning pumpkin can get right to filling you up, stabilizing your blood sugar, and ramping up your energy level, all for a day's work.
- Younger-looking skin. Pumpkin won't actually make you younger – nothing we know of can – but it can help give you a more youthful-looking appearance. For one thing, per webmd.com, the beta-carotene from pumpkin can help guard you from the sun's UV rays that can lead to wrinkles; also, the pulp from pumpkin can be used to make a nifty, all-natural face mask that exfoliates and soothes.
- Eye/Vision health. Again, it's beta-carotene that is the key factor. The vitamin A it gets converted to once consumed is essential for eye health while assisting the retina in absorbing and processing light, per webmd.com. That's not all: lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of antioxidants found in pumpkins, are believed to thwart cataracts and hinder the development of macular degeneration.