Eating Pumpkin Pie during the holidays may be just a start. Pumpkin has a lot of potential to improve our overall health throughout the year. Perhaps we should consider including pumpkin in our daily diets, and not always in sweet treats. Pumpkin fruit is best consumed cooked with boiling being a popular method. Pumpkin can be consumed like any other squash and the seeds can be kept and roasted.
A summary of major nutrients in pumpkin and pumpkin seeds include Beta carotene. Calcium, Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Copper, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Niacin, Amino Acids and Fatty Acids. Pumpkin fruit is a great source of healthy fiber. In fact, pumpkin is one of the best sources of Beta carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A.
Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are becoming ever more popular. Perhaps this is because the seeds are a good source of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, protein, fiber, and minerals such as iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. They are a fast and quick snack being offered toasted, raw, and sprouted. Brands that carry pumpkin seeds include Go Raw, Eden Organic, and NOW Foods. We also carry them in our bulk departments.
Potential Activity of Pumpkin
Pumpkin has been associated with broad-spectrum anti-microbial components to help inhibit bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites. Both the pumpkin flesh and seeds help to protect the body from infectious disease causing organisms.
Pumpkin fruit extracts have potential antioxidant activity that may be beneficial for those who are pre-diabetic, diabetic or those with vascular injury.
Pumpkin seed oil has a good amount of Vitamin E, or tocopheral – a known antioxidant. Vitamin E is also great for the skin, supporting immune function, preventing inflammation, and promoting eye health.
The boiled fruit, seeds and seed oil exhibit anti-carcinogenic properties. For example, eating more Pumpkin Seeds has been associated with lower risk of gastric, breast, lung and colorectal cancers and carotenoid pigments in the seeds and fruit are linked to prevention of prostate cancer.
Pumpkin is a promising food in new research on combating diabetes. The fruit and seed compounds are helpful in aiding the absorption of glucose and balancing liver glucose levels. Consumption of pumpkin may be linked to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Though further research is needed, here are some research results:
- a-Amylase inhibition
- a-Glucosidase inhibition
- Reduced Blood Glucose
- Increased Insulin levels
- Improved glucose tolerance
- Increase in insulin secretion
- Increase in b-cell mass
The health benefits of pumpkin are still being explored and verified. Overall, pumpkin is an overlooked food source and honored mostly as a holiday party favor. Perhaps we can change that!
What are the health benefits of pumpkin? by Megan Ware RDN, LD
Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review by Yadav et al
Featured photo from boulderlocavore.com – Here’s a recipe they posted on your roasting your own pumpkin seeds!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.