• Stacie Haaga

The Power of Pumpkin: 5 Health Benefits of this Fall Favorite

Updated: Nov 16

Like pumpkin spice? Then you'll love REAL pumpkin flesh and pumpkin seeds for their health benefits! Most of us don’t think of pumpkin as a “health food” but it belongs in our diet more than once a year! And no, I'm not talking about not the sugary syrup at the Starbucks - I'm talking about the real deal.


As a whole, pumpkin is ripe with health benefits. The seeds are a great source of protein, zinc, iron and fiber. The flesh (commonly eaten as pumpkin puree) is a rich source of vitamin C, A and fiber, and it’s often helpful to relieve intestinal inflammation. Both are anti-inflammatory and are protective against many diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and cancer, and coronary heart diseases.


Here are 5 nutrient-rich reasons to enjoy pumpkin foods this season:


  1. Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber. At 7 g of fiber per cup, pumpkin is a great way to boost fiber! Add it to a smoothie, roast it, add it to a soup or chili, eat it as a custard, or use it as an oil substitute in a muffin or pancake. Eating the recommended 25-30 g of fiber each day will help with regular bowel movements, support good metabolic health, and will help to manage blood sugar!

  2. Pumpkin can help soothe an upset stomach. This works if you (or your dog!) have diarrhea or constipation - pumpkin is low in FODMAPS and easily digestible. 2-3 T is recommended for an upset stomach.

  3. Pumpkin seeds may be used as an anti-parasitic. Believe it or not, parasites like tapeworm are pretty common in the U.S. Symptoms of parasites may include unexplained nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and other digestive issues. Eating pumpkin seeds is a natural way to help treat parasites as they contain tetracyclic triterpenes which can help remove parasites from the body during a bowel movement.

  4. Pumpkin helps with hypertension and heart health. Pumpkin is packed with potassium, which is crucial for lowering blood pressure. Its antioxidants also help to keep cholesterol in check and decrease inflammation.

  5. Pumpkins are an immune booster. Pumpkin is rich with vitamins and minerals, including several that may help get you through cold and flu season a little healthier. High in Vitamins A and C, both help to strengthen the immune system and fight infections. Pumpkin seeds also offer nutrients that support the immune system, including zinc.


So how will you enjoy your canned or fresh pumpkin this season? Here are some of my favorite pumpkin recipes!




Citations:

Nutritional Value, Phytochemical Potential, and Therapeutic Benefits of Pumpkin (Cucurbita sp.) - PMC


Pumpkin polysaccharide modifies the gut microbiota during alleviation of type 2 diabetes in rats


High serum carotenoids associated with lower risk for the metabolic syndrome and its components among Japanese subjects: Mikkabi cohort study


Abstract P140: The Role of Pumpkin Flesh in Reducing Mean Arterial Pressure in a Genetic Rat Model for Hypertension



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