The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The ResBiotic Team The ResBiotic Team
3 minute read

Fall is here, Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner, and it’s the season of all things pumpkin. 
 You may be surprised to learn that this festive orange squash is a source of health-promoting nutrients, including carotenoids, which are anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting compounds associated with better respiratory function.

Let’s explore the health benefits of adding pumpkin (and its seeds) to your diet.

Chock Full of Carotenoids 

Like other orange fruits and vegetables, pumpkin is a rich source of alpha and beta carotene, a carotenoid that your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for several body functions, including maintaining healthy vision, immunity, and organ function.

In 2018, scientists found that Vitamin A is essential in the formation of lung alveoli which make up the gas exchange region of the lung, and a study of women aged 65 and older found greater intake of alpha and beta carotene was associated with better pulmonary function.

Immunity Enhancer

The benefits of beta carotene and vitamin A carry over to your immune system. Several studies show that vitamin A can help your body fight infections. Likewise, pumpkins are high in vitamin C, a nutrient known for their role in helping immune cells work better and wounds heal faster. Other major nutrients in pumpkins that can help support the immune system are vitamin E, iron, and folate.

A 2020 study in elderly men and women showed just how beneficial vitamins C and E can be. Supplementation of the two nutrients helped restore immune cell function and the positive effects on immunity were maintained after finishing supplementation.

Antioxidant Provider

The carotenoids found in pumpkin are also powerful antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals, stopping damage to your cells and protecting your body from oxidative stress.

Research also shows that the antioxidant content in pumpkin and its seeds can lower the risk of certain cancers. In 2004, a group of researchers found that the risk of several types of cancer, including lung cancer, is inversely proportional to pumpkin seed intake.

Vision Protector

The vitamin A you get from pumpkin is the gift that continues to give. Not only is it great for your immune system, but it can also protect your vision and lower the risk of sight loss as you age. In fact, studies have connected vitamin A deficiency to blindness.

Pumpkin is also a great source of vitamins lutein and zeaxanthin which are linked to lower risk of age-related eye health issues and vitamins C and E found in pumpkin can also act as an antioxidant, shielding free radicals from eye cells.

Heart Hero

On top of pumpkin being high in vitamin C, it also contains high amounts of potassium and fiber which have all been linked to heart health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and risk of stroke. The antioxidant properties can also lower the risk of heart disease by preventing LDL cholesterol from oxidizing.

From a savory dish to a sweet treat, pumpkin is a versatile food to add to your next dish, and don’t forget the seeds! Pumpkin seeds also provide several nutrients. Rich in magnesium, zinc, and fatty acids, the seeds can benefit heart health, and see oil can contribute to lowering risk factors for heart disease. My favorite is tossing the seeds in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika before roasting them for about 12 minutes. Enjoy!

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