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Health Benefits of Pumpkins
Luscious pumpkin bread
As we are coming into fall we are starting to see pumpkins along the road for sale and also see pumpkin pie commercials on television. But did you know there are a lot of health benefits to pumpkins. We will be looking at some of these benefits that pumpkins offer us in this Hub page. Who ever knew that eating pumpkin is so healthy for you. I was watching a television news show this morning and they were talking about all the added health benefits that one gets when eating fresh pumpkin.
Nutritional facts about pumpkin
Pumpkin is a widely known vegetable that is incredibly rich in antioxidants and is full of vitamins. Pumpkin is a good source of vitamins A, C, E and the B vitamins and dietary fiber. Mineral wise, it’s rich with potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, sodium and zinc. Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration. So besides pumpkin being great in deserts especially at the holidays it is also has many added nutrients that are good for our body.
Where does pumpkin come from?
Pumpkins are grown from a vine that is easy to grow. The plant is a fast growing vine that creeps along the surface of the ground like any other gourd or squash type plant. It is one of the most field crops that is cultivated around the world. Here is Florida you may see while driving in the country side pumpkins growing in orange and grapefruit orchards. Don’t know why this is except for one local farmer told me that pumpkins are easy to grow and they do not need much maintenance to keep them alive plus they help the ground from eroding. But like most Americans including myself and my family since it is getting fall and Halloween is right around the corner we will be heading out to the local pumpkin patches to pick that one perfect pumpkin that catches our eye.
What to look for in a pumpkin for display.
Pumpkins need to fully mature when it is picked. Never pic up or carry a pumpkin by its stem. If the stem breaks off close to the pumpkin it can cause the pumpkin to invite infections and disease and then it will rot. Always check the pumpkin for soft spots and dark bruises. Once the pumpkin has either one of these it will rot very fast and may not make it through the season. Check the bottom of the pumpkin where it has been sitting on the ground and make sure there are not soft spots here either. Look also for any nicks or blemishes as this is the first place that a pumpkin can get infections and diseases. Pumpkins should be stored in a cool, dry place prior to carving/displaying them.
There are many different sizes and shapes of pumpkins. Don’t always go the largest pumpkin in the patch, it could be very old and ready to rot. Shape and size is your own preference, just check to make sure that when you go to display it that is will balance the way that you want to display it.
Here is a sample of the added benefits of pumpkin.
Let’s get back to all the health benefits that can come from eating pumpkin. This bright-colored, gourd-like squash is so rich with nutrients that make it a very valuable vegetable from the health perspective. Pumpkin has many oxidants that help protect the respiratory system from attacks that bring on asthma. Pumpkin also acts like a scrubbing agent that helps to clean away old buildup of arterial deposits which can lead to strokes and heart attack. Pumpkin is also full of calcium which aids in healthier bones. Pumpkin also contains phytosterols which is similar to human cholesterol which when eaten it normalizes the cholesterol in your body to a healthier level. Pumpkin also will help people with depression. There leading cause of depression is the lack of tryptophan in a person diet. Pumpkin has high levels of l-tryptophan which is an amino acid that our bodies do not produce. These are a few of the benefits of adding pumpkin into our daily diet. Another benefit of pumpkin is our skin, The high quantity of anti-oxidants in the form of vitamins A, C and E, and zinc, provide the synergistic healing virtues that are great for the skin. These healthful properties are best obtained by drinking of its juice regularly
Pumpkin for the eyes.
One cup of pureed pumpkin has more than seven times the daily value of 5,000 IU for vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for good vision. The anti-oxidant carotenoids covert to vitamin A in your body which also provides the eyes with Lutein and zeasanthin which is crucial for maintaining good eye health.
Pumpkin adds to ones fiber intake.
Like many of us in America we do not get enough fiber in our diet. A person should consume between twenty and thirty five grams of fiber daily. What fiber does it helps you digest your food more efficiently which helps your body absorb the nutrients from your food. This is where pumpkin comes in, the pumpkin is loaded with bulk that provides helpful dietary fiber that helps out the gastrointestinal disorders which causes indigestion and constipation. What is also nice about pumpkin is that it is low in sugar and calories, which in turns helps the LDL cholesterol and regulates the blood sugar level in your body.
A great fall recipe that my whole family loves is super-easy pumpkin dip. Canned real pumpkin mixed with maple syrup and cinnamon will be a treat for all your friends. Use reduced fat cream cheese for this recipe has a third less fat and makes the dip rich and soft without too many added calories. Serve this dip with just about anything, but it is a real hit when you serve it with fresh fruit.
Ingredients: Reduced-fat cream cheese, brown sugar, canned pumpkin, maple syrup, ground cinnamon