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Happy Halloween – Health Benefits of Pumpkins

If your kids love carving pumpkins then this year why not try something different with the flesh you remove. Pumpkins make good additions to both sweet and savoury dishes and can be  roasted, pureed or baked. There are a number of health benefits associated with pumpkins as they contain antioxidants and are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Halloween Pumpkin

Nutritional Values in Pumpkin

In just 245g of mashed pumpkin contains following nutrients (1):

  • Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 16% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 11% of the RDI
  • Copper: 11% of the RDI
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI
  • Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.

It is also relatively low in calories – 49 per 245g, and contains beta-carotene which your body converts to vitamin A.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin on Eyesight.

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a deterioration in eye health and is a possible cause of blindness. Research has shown that people have higher intakes of beta-carotene had a lower risks of cataracts (2), and that those who had higher intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin (pumpkin is one of the best sources for both) had a reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts (3).

Vitamins C and E also found in pumpkin act as antioxidants and may help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals.

Skin Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The same vitamins and nutrients which help your eye health also keep your skin strong and healthy (vitamins C and E, Lutein and Zeaxanthin) whilst beta-carotene acts as a natural sun block.

Vitamin C is involved in collagen formation, helps wound healing and prevents bruising, however your body doesn’t make it so it is important to ensure you have sufficient in your diet. .

An excellent antioxidant vitamin E works with vitamin C, to protect against sun damage and to reduce skin dryness.

Supporting the Immune System

The beta-carotene in pumpkin is converted in to Vitamin A which has an important role in supporting the immune system and fighting infections.  Vitamin C increases white blood cell formation and increases the effectiveness of immune cells. Vitamin E as well as iron and folate (also found in pumpkin) also aid the immune system.

Pumpkins Can Help Improve Heart Health

The orange colour of a pumpkin comes from the carotenoid – beta carotene, those diets which are high in carotenoids have been found to possibly help reduce the risk of the development of metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure which increases the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes.

Help Weight Loss

Pumpkins are low calorie, approximately 94% water and have a good fibre content meaning it is a nutrient dense food which can help to fill you up, and so be a useful addition in a weight loss diet.

 

Why not try pumpkin this Halloween? If you would like to try a healthy pumpkin recipe, head on over to our Facebook Page Blackfen Osteopathic Clinic.

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