October 27, 2015 by Italians in Chicago
New York – When we think of Halloween, the first thing that strikes our minds is the creepy glowing pumpkin head.
Pumpkins are popular for turning into Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween decorations and many people use them only for decoration purposes.
They are unaware of the fact that pumpkins are one of the most nutritious fruits available during the fall. They contain essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
Pumpkins are a good source of carotenoids, the compounds that provide pumpkins their bright orange color. Food rich in carotenoids greatly reduces the risk of cancers like lung cancer, bladder, colon, breast, cervical and skin. Carotenoids have also the ability to prevent heart diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration. Moreover, they can really boost the overall immune system.
Anti-Inflammatory Benefits and Immune system booster
Alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are two main carotenoids, which are abundantly present in pumpkin. Both these carotenoids are pro-vitamin A carotenoids, which means the body converts them into vitamin A and this vitamin plays a very vital role in the promotion of healthy vision and for proper functioning of the immune system. The beta-carotene acts as an anti-inflammatory and it can actually repair and even reverse the skin damage that is caused by the Sun. While, the alpha-carotene can indeed slow down the aging process and also prevent the tumor growth.
Great source of dietary fibers – an essential nutrient for our diet
Did you know that half cup of pumpkin contains five grams of fibers? Pumpkin is a very effective natural remedy for treating gastrointestinal disorders like indigestion, constipation, etc. The high fiber content also helps reducing blood’s bad cholesterol levels and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Moreover, fiber helps preventing heart diseases.
Remember eating fiber-rich diet can also help you in shedding pounds because fiber will make you feel fuller. It will help to control personal food intake.
Great for skin, vision and blood pressure
Pumpkins contain a number of essential vitamins like Vitamin A, C, E, riboflavin and folate. Vitamin A plays a vital role for the growth and support of bone, teeth, skin, vision and even reproduction. Vitamin C improves the immunity system, lowers the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and regulates the cholesterol levels. Vitamin E promotes healthy skin and helps support cell membrane stabilization. Riboflavin helps with skin and vision, whereas folate facilitates the formation of new cells in the body.
Help to decrease LDL “bad” cholesterol
Oil extracted from pumpkin seed has high content of phytosterols, the compound which can replace cholesterol in the body and thus helps in reducing the blood cholesterol levels. In addition to pumpkin seeds, many other nuts and seeds contain phytosterol compound including pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, English walnuts and Brazilian nuts.
Prevents kidney stones
Pumpkin seeds contain special compounds that seem to reduce the levels of substances that create kidney stones and hence inhibit the kidney stone formation. It has been proved that daily intake of five to 10 grams of pumpkin seeds can really stimulate kidneys and avoid the formation of calcium oxalate stones –one of the most common kinds of human kidney stones.
Mood and depression booster
Both pumpkin flesh and seeds contains L-tryptophan, a chemical compound that contains anti-depressant properties. It can trigger the feeling of happiness on individuals. As a result, daily intake of pumpkin can elevate people’s mood and prevent depression. Plus, the high content of omega-3 fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds plays a very important role in improving the overall mental function and memory.
Happy Halloween everybody, remember to stay healthy and strong!