Selection and storage
Pumpkins can be found in the supermarkets all year around. It’s best to buy the whole pumpkin rather than cut in sections.
To choose a ripe pumpkin, look for a fine woody sound on tapping and stout stem. Avoid the ones with wrinkled skin, cuts and bruises.
Pumpkins may be stored for many weeks in a well ventilated place at room temperature. But once its opened then keep it in the refrigerator for only a few days.
Make sure you wash it very well in running water to remove any residuals of insecticides and fungicides, dirt and soil.
14 Health Benefits of eating Pumpkin:
1. Keeps a healthy Heart and Blood Pressure
The fibre, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin help support heart health. Consuming adequate amounts of potassium is important to regulate blood pressure (low and high blood pressure) as it helps to keep adequate levels of sodium. Potassium also helps to decrease risk of stroke, muscle mass loss, formation of kidney stones and keeps bone mineral density.
Vitamin C helps to keep strong blood vessels, consequently protecting against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.
Pumpkin also helps to regulate cholesterol levels due to it’s good amounts of omega 3 and as it contains no cholesterol .
2. Eye Health
Vitamin A, which is converted from beta carotene by the body, helps to adjust the eye to changes in the intensity of the light by improving the contraction and expansion of the iris. Also, it helps to decrease symptoms of dry eyes by protecting the eye’s membrane. Also, it can help to reduce the risk of developing Cataract in elderly people.
For women during reproductive years, consuming more iron from plant sources such as pumpkin (spinach, beans, tomatoes and beets) seems to promote fertility.
Also beta carotene which is converted by the body into vitamin A, is very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding for the synthesis of hormones.
4. Immune System Booster
Pumpkins are high in vitamin C, beta carotene and Zeaxathin, essential nutrients for strengthening and supporting the immune system. They help to decrease duration, frequency and intensity of colds and flu.
These antioxidants work by removing and protecting against free radicals that are produced in the body as a result of oxidative reactions. If free radicals are not removed from our system, they can start to harm our body at cellular levels. Cancer is an example of the result of overgrown of free radicals in the body.
5. Improves Sleep and Mood Booster
Tryptophan is normally known as a nutrient from Turkey, but it is found in amazing amounts in the pumpkin as well. Tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin, which helps you to relax, promote a better sleep and improves mood.
6. Helps with Constipation
Pumpkin is high in fibre, which helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer, may decrease sugar cravings, supports the digestion, softens the stools and maintain regular bowel movements.
7. Promotes Healthy Skin
The antioxidants found in Pumpkins helps to eliminates the free radical which can cause acne, dark spots and premature skin ageing.
Beta carotene and vitamin E in the pumpkin help to keep the skin smooth, acting as an anti-ageing (“wrinkle-free”). Also vitamin B2 promotes cell production to renew old skin layers and substitute dead cells then slowing down the ageing process.
8. Helps Muscle Recovery After a Workout
A cup of cooked (boiled) pumpkins have more potassium than a banana, with 564mg and banana’s 422mg. Potassium helps to balance the electrolytes after the workout and supports muscle function.
9. Help to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Pumpkins are low in sugar and high in fiber. They have been shown to maintain blood sugar levels and improve glucose tolerance.
10. Supports Prostate Health
About 1 in 7 men are likely to get prostate cancer, one of the most common type of cancer in men. It has been shown that men with prostate cancer have lower levels of zinc, an extremely important mineral for prostate health. Pumpkin seeds are an amazing source of zinc, which helps to prevent against prostate cancer and enlarged prostate. Regular daily consumption of pumpkin seeds help to reduce the risk of developing enlargement of prostate and prostate cancer.
11. Great source of Magnesium
12. Helps with Anaemia
Anaemia is a common condition, where the haemoglobin count in the blood is lower than it should be. Haemoglobin is responsible for the transport and delivering of oxygen to the cells of the whole body. Common symptoms of anaemia are fatigue, dizziness, headache, drowsiness and pale skin. Pumpkin is a good source of iron, vitamin B12 and folate which contribute to the formation of haemoglobin.
13. Boosts Energy
Even though Pumpkin are low in calories, they are a great source of energy due to its vitamin B12 content. Lack of vitamin B12 in the diet would lead to other nutrient deficiencies due to its ability to help with digestion by breaking down carbohydrate, protein and fat.
14. Improves Thyroid Function
Pumpkins have great amounts of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Riboflavin supports thyroid function which is responsible for the production, storage and release of hormones into the blood. Lack of thyroid hormones can cause fatigue, mood swings and promote weight gain.
Add Pumpkins to:
Pumpkins can be used in many recipes like soups, roasted vegetables, salads, pies and other desserts. Also, it’s puree can also be used as a substitute for butter in baking recipes.
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