It’s nearly pumpkin season! We all love it in our pies, cupcakes or even spice lattes… However, there are more reasons than just a delicious taste to get totally obsessed with this autumn superfood! Let’s take a look at the health benefits of pumpkins…
We asked Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritonist at www.nutricentre.com to tell us more about the health benefits of pumpkins…
Pumpkins are rich in fibre – around 1 cup of pumpkin flesh provides about 5 grams of fibre (we need on average 18g per day to keep our digestive system functioning well).
Pumpkin contains vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene, all of which have been found to play an important role in the health of our skin. Vitamin C is not naturally made by the body and so it is important we get it from the diet every day, as it plays a part in collagen formation, helps to prevent bruising and helps with wound healing
They are also rich in carotenoids, which are fat-soluble compounds that give the flesh its orange pigment. Beta carotene and alpha carotene are the most abundant carotenoids in pumpkins and can convert to vitamin A in the body. Your eyes will thank you for that vitamin A boost! Vitamin A, or beta-carotene, is also involved in skin protection from the sun’s UVB rays and may help protect against sunburn, although sunscreen is still required!
Pumpkins also contain the minerals: magnesium and potassium, which you need for good energy levels and heart health.
As indicated by their bright orange colour, pumpkins contain beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when consumed. Research has demonstrated that vitamin A plays an important role in supporting the immune system, of which around 80% is in the digestive system. Further research suggests that diet, including vitamin A, has a direct effect on immune system function.
Beta carotene also works as an antioxidant – protecting the body and supporting the immune system and slowing down ageing process.
Don’t throw away the treasure inside – the seeds!
- Pumpkin seeds are a good source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (the good fats) and fibre, essential for heart health.
- They are also packed with protein, which will keep you fuller for longer.
- Snacking on pumpkin seeds is a great way of increasing your zinc and iron intake that support our immune system and boost energy.
- The high content of the amino acid, tryptophan may make them helpful to support sleep and better moods.