Pumpkins are one of the most abundant and seasonal fruits (yes they are a fruit) they our beautiful nation has to offer. According to the USDA, America produces approximately 753.8 pounds of pumpkins every year, whether that be for Halloween or for cooking purposes! Everybody knows that jack lanterns are a Halloween staple just as much as pumpkin pie is for Thanksgiving. But what exactly does a pumpkin have to offer in terms of health benefits? Besides the actual pumpkin, the seeds and “guts” or “strings” of the pumpkins are actually packed with vitamins and minerals!
According to Dailyburn.com, a frequently used and amazing resource these are the top 5 benefits of eating pumpkin or a pumpkin product. Each point is shortened and put into more human terms, please visit their site for the full lineup!
- Feel Fuller : Pumpkin seeds pack about 1.7 grams of dietary fiber per ounce, while mashed pumpkin has only 50 calories per cup and 3 grams of fiber. “Fiber helps keep you fuller longer, which keeps your appetite at bay so you eat less overall,” says nutrition and fitness expert JJ Virgin.
- Boost Vision: A cup of cubed pumpkin contains almost twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health. Bonus: Vitamin A also helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones.
- Lower Blood Pressure: Pumpkin seed oil is full of phytoestrogens; which research shows are beneficial for preventing hypertension. When researchers fed rats a diet supplement with the oil, they found that it helped lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in just 12 weeks.
- Sleep Better: Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that contributes to post-Thanksgiving dinner sleepiness, says Virgin. Tryptophan is also responsible for helping the body produce serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that helps you relax and unwind. Not only do pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, the serotonin will improve your mood, says Virgin.
- Protect Your Package : Pumpkins — especially the seeds — are rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants with cancer protective properties, says Virgin. And pumpkin seeds could be especially healthy for men. Researches in Taiwan found pumpkin seed oil blocked unhealthy prostate growth in male rats. A quarter cup of the seeds also contains about 2.75 milligrams of zinc, (about 17 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults), which contributes to male sexual health. When young men in a Wayne State University Study restricted their dietary zinc intake, they had significantly lower levels of testosterone after 20 weeks.
- Have a Healthier Heart : All that fiber can also help protect your heart, research shows. One study of over 40,000 male health professionals found that those who ate a diet high in fiber had a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who ate a diet low in fiber. A more recent study by Swedish researchers found that women who ate a diet high in fiber had a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with women who ate a low fiber diet. Men benefited less, likely because they’re more likely to get their fiber from breads, while women are more likely to get their fiber from healthier sources, like fruits and vegetables, the researchers write.
Why are you still reading this?! Go and get some pumpkins! This article is not referencing the sugar packed, chocolate laced pumpkin bars that we all love, but a more simplified form of pumpkin! GO GET SOME!
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