Pumpkins are loaded with vitamin A. One cup of fresh, cooked, mashed pumpkin has more than a full-day’s supply of vitamin A. And the vitamin A in one cup of canned pumpkin is concentrated to more than twice the vitamin A of fresh pumpkin. Vitamin A helps protect vision, providing protection against age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease.
The bright orange color in pumpkins is produced by carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and xanthophyll. Carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A and protect the eyes. Carotenoids can also act as antioxidants, helping to prevent cancer and other degenerative diseases as well as slow aging and keep your skin looking younger.
Pumpkins have lots of fiber, with one cup of canned pumpkin having a third of the daily requirement for fiber. Fiber fills you up, satisfies, helps you absorb more nutrients, cleans your intestinal tract, and keeps you regular.
Pumpkins can help you lose weight because they are low in calories and fat in addition to being high in fiber.
One cup of pumpkin has more potassium than a banana. Potassium helps restore electrolyte balance after a workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.
One cup of pumpkin has 15% RDA for vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system.
Canned pumpkin is pureed, cooked, and concentrated down, which concentrates nutrients. Canned pumpkin has approximately double the amount of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A compared to fresh pumpkin.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous. A couple of handfuls of pumpkin seeds (~¼ cup) have approximately a quarter of the daily requirement for protein, iron, and zink, and roughly half the daily requirement for magnesium and phosphorous.
Pumpkin seeds have phytosterols, plant compounds similar to cholesterol that reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Pumpkin seeds have tryptophan, an amino acid that is important in serotonin production. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps create a feeling of well-being and relaxation. High serotonin levels are linked to better moods, better sleep, and higher pain tolerance.
Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin soup. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin pancakes. There are so many delicious ways to eat pumpkin!
What's your favorite way to eat pumpkin? Please leave a comment.