It’s fall. And that means seasonal pumpkin-flavored foods and beverages are everywhere right now. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, it also means many of us will be eating way too much pumpkin pie. While all of that sugar in the pie may not be healthy, it turns out the pumpkin itself offers some incredible health benefits.
First, it’s easy to forget that pumpkin isn’t just a flavor, it’s actually a fruit filled with important nutrients. But is there any difference in eating the actual gourd and the stuff sold in cans? Keep reading to find out.
7 Health Benefits of Pumpkin
If you only eat pumpkin-flavored desserts in the fall, you’ll want to start eating more real pumpkin after you read the health benefits it offers.
1. Helps Your Eyesight
Did you know that pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, and that’s important for good eye health? Vitamin A may actually slow the development of macular degeneration. Just one cup of vitamin A contains a whopping 197% of your daily recommended value for vitamin A.
2. An Immunity Booster
You most likely know that vitamin C is a vital nutrient that helps support your immune system. But did you know that pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin C? One cup offers 17% of your daily recommended value. Help keep the cold and flu away this winter by eating more pumpkin.
3. Improves Skin Health
Know what gives pumpkin is orange color? The same compounds that give carrots their color – carotenoids. These are powerful antioxidants that offer many health benefits in and of themselves, one of them being they really help boost the health of your skin.
4. Heart Health
Pumpkin is an excellent source of both magnesium and potassium, two minerals that help the health of your heart. Magnesium helps your muscles relax. Since your heart is one of your most important muscles, magnesium helps the contraction/relaxation cycle.
5. Improves Gut Health
Pumpkin is also high in beneficial fiber, which not only helps to keep you regular, but may also help you to lower your cholesterol.
6. Helps You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals
That fiber I just mentioned? Because pumpkin has so much of it, it really helps you fill up. But even better, pumpkin also happens to be low in calories. This combination makes pumpkin a great food to reach for to help you on your weight loss journey. You may want to consider having pumpkin as a side dish instead of high-caloric foods like mashed potatoes or dinner rolls.
7. May Help Prevent Diabetes
A 2007 study performed by East China Normal University found that pumpkin successfully promoted the regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells in diabetic rats, which in turn led to a boost in insulin production.
In 2009, a Japanese team of scientists introduced pumpkin paste to lab rats with type 2 diabetes in an oral glucose test. The team found the pumpkin paste to be effective at improving glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
Is Canned Pumpkin Just as Healthy as Fresh Pumpkin?
I know what you’re thinking: the idea of breaking down and cleaning a pumpkin seems a bit labor-intensive. So will you get the same nutritional benefits from canned pumpkin as fresh? Yes, both canned and fresh pumpkin offer roughly the same amount of healthy nutrients. If you are going to opt for canned pumpkin, just be sure to read the label and buy a version that is 100% pumpkin with nothing added like sugar.
Are Pumpkin Seeds Good for You, Too?
You bet. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, which can help your immune system fight those cold and flus. Pumpkin seeds also give you protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids. This makes them excellent for the fight against inflammation. But that’s not all, they also offer important minerals for your overall health, like magnesium and manganese. So, if you do decide to opt for fresh pumpkins, don’t throw those seeds out!
So, Are Pumpkin-Spiced Lattes Good for You?
Hate to break it to you, but pumpkin-flavored baked goods or sugary lattes do NOT offer the same health benefits as straight up pumpkin. The pumpkin spice that is usually used in these prepared items is typically a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger and… LOTS of sugar.
So no, stay away from pumpkin-flavored foods and opt to go for the real stuff. Easy ways to incorporate real pumpkin into your diet are to cube some to add to salads, slide on kebabs, or toss into a smoothie recipe.
If you want to get really fancy, you can roast pumpkin and puree it into a delicious fall soup, or slice and roast to create a sort of French fry. You can also roast and blend into hummus or oatmeal. The ways to use pumpkin are almost endless.
Besides Eating More Pumpkin, How Else Can You Control Your Blood Glucose Naturally?
If you suffer from diabetes, you know firsthand how frustrating it can be to prick your fingers every day to check your blood glucose and then get pricked with a shot of insulin. Now you know that doing something as natural as eating more pumpkin may help you to manage your blood glucose levels.
But is there anything else you can do to manage your diabetes?
What if I told you you could completely reverse your diabetes and do so using 100% natural protocols? No, that’s not an exaggeration.
Pick up your copy of Smart Blood Sugar and find out how one doctor is helping her patients throw out their diabetes medication for good.