Aside from being a staple decoration during the Halloween season, pumpkins are also one of the most popular flavors today. From lattes to beers to bagels, the orange squash has become somewhat inescapable and, of course, profitable. Proof of this is the 200 million orders of Pumpkin Spice Lattes that Starbucks reportedly sold in just the past decade.
While Pumpkin Spice Lattes aren’t really the epitome of healthy eating, pumpkins have a long list of surprising health benefits everyone can reap.
A Healthy Heart
According to a Harvard study, a diet that’s high in fiber has been proven to lower one’s risk of developing coronary heart disease, especially when compared to people whose diet is low in fiber. This type of carbohydrate can be found in abundance in both fresh and canned pumpkin.
However, this doesn’t mean that one can get the same results by just eating pumpkin-laced desserts. Experts suggest people prepare their pumpkin in healthier ways like roasting chunks of the squash together with other vegetables. Topping salads with pumpkin seeds is also a great way to boost the fiber and nutrient content of a simple meal.
Weight Loss Aid
And since pumpkin is rich in fiber, eating it can help one feel fuller for longer time. This benefit is a definite positive for people who are trying to lose weight as fiber can help them keep hunger at bay and eat less at the end of the day. To get into specifics, a cup of mashed pumpkin only has 50 calories but has 3 grams of fiber.
Lowering Blood Pressure
Meanwhile, pumpkin seed oil has been said to help lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension too. This is because the oil has phytoestrogens, a plant-derived compound that affects the body in a similar way with the hormone estrogen.
Another benefit of eating pumpkin seeds is that they can help one feel relax, unwind and even fall asleep. According to experts, this effect is due to the seeds’ tryptophan content which aids the body in making serotonin.
Pumpkins are also teeming with antioxidants and beta-carotene. These compounds can serve as protection from cancer.
Pumpkin seed oil is particularly lauded for preventing unhealthy growth in the prostate, so men can benefit from adding more of the fruit in their diet.
Because it contains more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, a mere cup of cubed pumpkin can help a person maintain their good vision and even halt the decline of retinal function caused by the degenerative disease retinitis pigmentosa.
What more, the vitamin can also help keep the teeth, bones, and skin healthy.