Do you think pumpkins are just for decorating on Halloween?
You are very wrong.
The pumpkin is a powerful fruit loaded with vitamins and minerals, believe it or not. Its powerful orange color has a specific reason and it is all the beta-carotene it has.
To know in detail about the history, nutrients, and benefits of pumpkin, I invite you to continue learning with us. Don’t stop reading.
Pumpkin belongs to the same family of plants as melons and cucumbers. It is a variety of winter pumpkins.
Since it has seeds, it is technically a fruit. However, in terms of nutrition, it is more like a vegetable.
Pumpkins are usually round and orange, although variety can affect size, shape, and color. It is attached to its green plant by a stem, which is thick, smooth, and ribbed on the outside.
The fruit is generally hollow inside, except for ivory-colored seeds covered in fibrous skin. Both the pulp and the seeds are edible and loaded with nutrients.
History and production
They are native to North America and are very popular on two very special occasions. They are made into pies for Thanksgiving desserts in the United States and Canada and carved into pumpkins for Halloween.
They are, however, grown everywhere else than Antarctica.
Pumpkins should be grown in soils with good water retention and infiltration rates for water.
In my opinion, pumpkin is a blessing and that is why it is very easy to grow in most regions. In this way, most of the population can enjoy its nutrients and benefits.
Keep reading so you know what they are.
Nutrition Facts about Pumpkin
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Pumpkin is a remarkably nutrient-dense meal. It means it has many vitamins and minerals and only a few calories per serving.
The following nutrients are found in one cup (245 grams) of pumpkin:
- 137 Calories
- 7 grams of Fat
- 3 grams of Protein
- 7 grams of Fiber
- 19 grams of Carbs
- 209% of the Daily Value (DV) of Vitamin A
- 28% of the DV of Copper
- 37% of the DV of Vitamin K
- 18% of the DV of Iron
- 22% of the DV of Vitamin E
- 10% of the DV of Riboflavin
- 13% of the DV of Magnesium
- 10% of the DV of Vitamin C
- 10% of the DV of Vitamin B6
- 10% of the DV of Potassium
Smaller levels of many other nutrients are also present.
Beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, which are precursors to vitamin A, are what make up the vitamin A in pumpkin. After you take these potent antioxidants, your body can convert them into vitamin A.
Nutrients of Seed Pumpkin
Pumpkin seeds are another popular snack food. The nutrients contained in 1 ounce (15 grams) of whole pumpkin seeds are listed below:
- 86 Calories
- 4 grams of Protein
- 7 grams of Fat
- 2 grams of Carbs
- 1 gram of Fiber
- 21% of the DV of Copper
- 20% of the DV of Magnesium
- Phosphorus: 14% of the DV of Phosphorus
- 10% of the DV of Zinc
Pumpkin health benefits
Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene, such as pumpkin, can help you maintain good metabolic health. This contributes to the effectiveness with which blood sugar is controlled and the distribution of fat throughout the body.
High-fiber foods like pumpkin can help reduce blood sugar spikes after consuming carbohydrate-rich foods.
However, the importance of the rest of your overall dietary habits outweighs the benefits of eating pumpkins. That is, not everything is in the hands of the pumpkin, you need to follow a healthy and balanced diet.
Consuming fresh produce supports the health of your heart.
Pumpkin has several minerals that are great for the heart. Potassium in particular could lower high blood pressure levels.
By interacting with cholesterol in foods and inhibiting its absorption, fiber can also help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Other healthy foods that contribute to heart health are watermelon, bosc pear, black olives, and ripe mangoes.
Beta-carotene, which is largely converted to vitamin A, is abundant in pumpkins. Our body can fight multiple infections with only vitamin A.
Vitamin A plays a special role in strengthening the intestinal lining and increasing its resistance to infections.
Pumpkin also strengthens immune cells contributing to immune health. Immune cells react when a virus is detected and attack it to fight it.
Pumpkin is beneficial for the eyes in different ways.
First, it has a large amount of beta-carotene, which helps the retina absorb light and keeps vision clear.
Second, the added vitamins and minerals found in pumpkin may help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Consuming supplements with zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene can help people with macular degeneration. This is usually related to age but can be delayed with good nutrition.
All these nutrients are found in pumpkin and can be very helpful for our eye health.
Learn now how to prepare pumpkins with these delicious recipes.
Best Pumpkin recipes
Preparation time: 60 minutes
- 1 pumpkin (small one, about 500g)
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil for roasting
- 2 tablespoons of tahini paste
- 1 lemon in juice
- 1 red pepper, deseeded, and sliced
- 400g can chickpeas
- 1 yellow pepper, deseeded, and sliced
- Breadsticks and pitta chips, to serve
- Cut the squash to two-thirds the height of the squash.
- Remove pumpkin seeds.
- Scoop out the pulp from the bottom and lid.
- Heat oven to 200 °C, 180 °F.
- Place the pulp of the pumpkin cut into pieces, the garlic, and the oil in a roasting pan.
- After seasoning, bake for 45 minutes or until extremely tender. Let it cool.
- Pour the garlic, roasting pan juices, and pumpkin into a food processor.
- Add the chickpeas, tahini paste, and lemon juice.
- Add a little extra oil if the mixture is too thick after adding salt and mix until you get a paste.
- Refill the squash with hummus and serve with pita bread, bell peppers, and breadsticks.
Note: You can store the hummus overnight in the refrigerator and the next day it will be just as delicious
Muffins with pumpkin pulp
Preparation time: 15 minutes
- 235g of plain flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of baking powder
- 60g of soft brown sugar
- 100g of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 200g of pumpkin purée
- 140g of slightly salted butter
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°F/.
- Cinnamon, baking powder, flour, and both sugars should be mixed in a large bowl.
- Before adding the melted butter and eggs to the dry ingredients, the puree and eggs should be mixed.
- Mix for 3 minutes or until all ingredients are combined using a hand or electric mixer.
- Put the mix in a 12-hole muffin pan lined with muffin cups.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until they have risen and are golden brown.
- Lift it onto a wire rack to allow it to cool completely.
- If stored in an airtight container, it will last three days.
Note: You can reserve the muffins at room temperature and they will keep fresh and fluffy for up to 3 days.
If you want to have a healthy diet and enjoy delicious meals at the same time, use pumpkin as your best option. That’s why Jim Davis says:
“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”
Pumpkin: Vitamin A within easy reach
When you eat pumpkin from now on, the first thing you will think of is vitamin A. The benefits of vitamin A are wonderful and pumpkin has a lot to offer in that regard. You already know that the seeds should not be discarded, they are as nutritious as their pulp. So eat pumpkins, even their seeds.
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I’m a freelance health and fitness writer. I love sharing my own experiences in nutrition and wellness. I have been training and eating healthy for more than 15 years, so I have a lot of valuable information to share.