Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like pumpkin decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.
Pumpkin is one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant known to give orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color and which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration.
There are many creative ways pumpkin can be incorporated into your diet, including desserts, soups, salads, preserves and even as a substitute for butter.
Eating pumpkin is good for the heart! The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health.
Consuming adequate potassium is almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for treatment of hypertension (high-blood pressure). Other foods that are high in potassium include cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, spinach and bananas.
Increased potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
One particular type of cancer where research has shown a positive benefits of a diet rich in beta-carotene is prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition. Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.
The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene (all of which pumpkin has) have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.
A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
For women of child-bearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources such as spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets appear to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in pumpkin (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.
Plant foods like pumpkins that are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.
Demerits Of Pumkin:
Gas, Diarrhea or Constipation ….eating too many pumpkin seeds, even when carefully chewed, can also lead to intestinal gas and diarrhea. Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber — you’ll get just over 5 grams from a 1-ounce serving of the whole variety, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — which means that some of their carbohydrates aren’t fully digestible. When these undigested carbohydrates reach your large intestines, they’re broken down by bacteria. Gas is a byproduct of this process, particularly for people who aren’t accustomed to fiber-rich foods. Eating more fiber than you’re used to can also lead to loose, watery stools. If you typically have diarrhea after eating pumpkin seeds, however, you may have a food intolerance or sensitivity. Constipation is also a possible, albeit less likely, side effect of eating pumpkin seeds — the fiber you get from eating large amounts of pumpkin seeds can also stop you up temporarily.
Preventing Side Effects
Eating the seeds in moderation — 1 ounce is the standard amount for an individual serving — and with plenty of fluids can prevent digestive problems. Pumpkin seeds have also been known to trigger migraine headaches in some people. If you’re not prone to migraines, however, you probably won’t develop one from eating pumpkin seeds.
Avoiding Toxins From Spoilage
Although the unsaturated fatty acids in pumpkin seeds promote cardiovascular health, they also make the seeds prone to spoil quickly. Eating rancid pumpkin seeds exposes you to free radicals, toxic compounds that can increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Fresh, dry pumpkin seeds can stay in peak condition for about two months in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Seeds that smell musty, oily or grassy have probably gone rancid.