Pumpkin is an incredibly nutritious fruit that belongs to the same plant family as melons and cucumbers. Almost every part of the pumpkin is edible and healthy to eat. Its seed and leaves are a common ingredient in a variety of global cuisines. Pumpkins are popular in the U.S., making it the largest importer and China the world’s largest producer.
Pumpkin’s nutritional value
Beyond its high levels of zinc and magnesium, 100 grams of raw pumpkin contains the following percentages of your recommended daily intake:
- 2% of dietary fiber
- 2% of protein
- 26% of calories
- 170% of vitamin A
- 15% of vitamin C
- 2% of calcium
- 4% of iron
6 benefits of pumpkin that you should know about
1. Promotes optimal vision health
Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, which promotes sharper vision. The nutrient also works to the reduce risk of degenerative eye conditions such as cataracts. As a rich source of vitamin A, 100g of pumpkin helps you meet about 170% of your daily requirement.
2. Adds to your fiber intake
The benefits of fiber cannot be overemphasized. Fiber supports a healthy digestive system, a healthy heart and reduces the risk of obesity.
3. Boosts sperm quality
Low sperm quality is closely related to fertility problems. Low zinc levels is one of the major causes of infertility in men. Pumpkin is a rich and natural source of zinc. Also, zinc minerals contribute to healthy testosterone levels.
4. Reduces cancer risk
Pumpkin contains a pigment known as beta-carotene that is largely what gives the pumpkin its orange color. Research has shown that this pigment significantly reduces the risk of lung and prostate cancer. Also, vitamins And C act to shield the body against attacks by cancer-causing cells and also inhibit their growth.
5. Delays in skin aging
The beta-carotene component is a powerful antioxidant that increases collagen production. The vitamin A and C components, on the other hand, protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays that cause the skin to dry up and age quickly.
6. Improves immunity
In addition to the high vitamin A content that works to boost the body’s immunity, pumpkins are rich in vitamin C, folic acid, manganese and riboflavin. All these nutrients are essential for a healthy immune system.
For pregnant women, pumpkins help in the healthy growth of the fetus and promotes good health in the mother-to-be.
Ways to eat pumpkin
Pumpkin is a diverse vegetable, which makes it an ideal ingredient for soups, muffins, pancakes and custards. You may choose to add the pumpkin to your stews or roast it for a crunchy snack. To get the most out of the pumpkin, use it as a vegetable and not a dessert.
Raw or cooked pumpkin?
The discussion on whether to eat raw or cooked vegetables has always tilted in favor of raw vegetables. However, when it comes to pumpkin, the cooked version is more nutritious. The beta-carotene antioxidants are more efficiently and easily absorbed when cooked than when raw.