ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Health Benefits of Pumpkins and Other Pumpkin Facts

Updated on October 25, 2012

The History and Cultivation of Pumpkins

Pumpkins are considered a fruit and come from the squash family. Pumpkins are grown on vines, and they range in color from bright orange to shades of green. They can range in size from that of a small ball to several feet in diameter. The rind is usually smooth and has lines running from the stem to the bottom.

Pumpkins are thought to have originated in North America with the discovery of seeds in Mexico dating back to 5500 BC. In the United States, pumpkin crops are planted in the summer months and are ready to harvest in the fall. The top producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and California. Pumpkins grow best in well-draining soil and require large amounts of water. They are very hardy and can re-grow vines and leaves that are lost.


The Nutritional Value of Pumpkins

Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and calcium. Pumpkins are also high in fiber. They are very low in calories and contain no fat.

Beta-cartene has been used in diets to prevent problems in the eye like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Vitamin A is used by the body for these functions:

  • Vision and eye health
  • Skin and cell health
  • Immune system strength
  • Development of an embryo or fetus
  • Genetic transcription

Vitamin B studies have shown that ingesting this vitamin may help alleviate nausea in pregnancy or from a hang over due to its mild diuretic effect. Vitamin B is used in many functions of the brain, including neurotransmitter sysnthesis--vitamin B can help with mental depression and improve your mood.

Fiber helps with digestion and preventing constipation. In a fiber rich diet, your body is able to absorb the nutrients it needs and pass the waste that is left over.

Cooking with Pumpkins

Most people associate pumpkins with the fall, and pumpkin recipes are in high demand. Pumpkins can be roasted, baked, boiled, or steamed. They can be used in desserts, soups, pasta dishes, or breads. Desserts with pumpkin tend to include spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or allspice. Pumpkin makes baked goods moist without adding extra sugar or fat.

When making pies or baking with pumpkin, you will need to use a pumpkin puree. To make your own, here is a guide to using fresh pumpkins: read more here

Here are a few popular pumpkin recipes:

  1. Pumpkin Muffins
  2. 3D Pumpkin Pound Cake
  3. Spiced Pumpkin Gingerbread
  4. Pumpkin Cheesecake
  5. Hearty Pumpkin Stew
  6. Pumpkin Pie


How to Grow Your Own Pumpkins

Commerically grown pumpkins are treated with pesticides or chemicals to prevent fungus, so growing your own pumpkins would be great to avoid exposure to these chemicals. You can grow them as a food source for your family as well as your pets. Many vetenarians recommend pumpkin to relieve consitpation in pets because of the high fiber content.

Pumpkin seeds can be planted in pots indoors during the winter months and then transplanted to well draining soil in the early spring. Plants should contain 4-5 leaves per plant when they're ready to go outside. Pumpkins require abundant water and sunshine, but protection from high winds, high temperature, and wind. Cow manure makes a great fertilizer as pumpkins do better in soil that is slightly acidic. Pumpkins need to be watered at night, usually several gallons per plant twice a week. As your vine starts to grow, watch for the male and female flowers to appear. The male flowers appear first, usually in mid-summer. Female flowers come later and are distinguished by the tiny pumpkin at the end of the flower. Pumpkins are typically ready to harvest in the fall. Save the pumpkin seeds from harvested pumpkins, mix with compost, and you'll have more vines next season.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I enjoyed learning about the origin of pumpkins as well as other facts worked into this hub. Thought that you might like to know that I added a link to your hub in my latest one just published titled Delicious Pumpkin Bread Recipe ~ Not Just for the Holidays! Voting your hub up, useful and interesting. Thanks for this informative hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)