5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin

When you hear someone talking about pumpkin, odds are that they’re discussing their favorite flavored dessert or drink or they’re getting ready to carve a jack-o’-lantern for Halloween. However, that’s far from the end of all the wonderful tidbits about pumpkins. These gourds are healthy for a variety of reasons, from fighting off cancer and giving your heart a boost to improving weight loss efforts, and their multitude of vitamins and nutrients that make it worth searching for pumpkin recipes.

1. They’re good for your eyes
The Huffington Post reported that pumpkins are loaded with carotenoids. Specifically, the beta-carotene antioxidants present in this large orange vegetable can be converted to vitamin A in the body, which provides further benefits for your sight, according to the U.S. National Library on Medicine.

2. They can help you lose weight
While pumpkin pie and pumpkin-flavored lattes may not help your waistline, the squash is actually loaded with fiber. This nutritional necessity can help you feel full, reducing the likelihood that you’ll overeat.

3. They’ll help your heart
In addition to curbing your appetite, fiber can help improve cardiovascular health. The Mayo Clinic reported that fiber can lower cholesterol and keep blood sugar levels under control. With 3 grams in every cup of pumpkin pulp and 1.7 grams in an ounce of pumpkin seeds, this gourd is a great source of this healthful nutrient.

4. Your skin will thank you
There are lots of nutrients packed into one pumpkin in addition to carotenoids, such as vitamins A, C and E. Health magazine pointed out in a separate article that these, along with a slew of beneficial enzymes, protect your skin against damage. The carotenoids can also fight free radicals that cause signs of aging like wrinkles.

5. Their seeds are good for you too
When you’re making your jack-o’-lanterns, set aside the seeds to roast for a tasty snack. According to the George Mateljan Foundation, pumpkin seeds contain a heaping dose of mineral zinc, along with plenty of fiber. The next time you’re feeling hungry between meals, grab some roasted pumpkin seeds to satisfy that craving.

Pumpkin can be incorporated into a seemingly endless variety of recipes. Pumpkin bread and muffins make excellent breakfast treats, while the squash can also make a delicious addition to healthy smoothies and dinner dishes like ravioli and roasted vegetables. With so many delicious options, skip the pie and start reaping the benefits of this fall favorite.

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