Nowadays the thought of Pumpkins, conjures up images of Halloween and Thanksgiving.
But the Pumpkin has always been a part of Indian tradition. Fasts are usually broken with Puri, Aloo and Kaddu (Pumpkin). The Pumpkin is also a part of many celebration feasts especially in U.P.
But our humble Kaddu or Pumpkin has some amazing health benefits. Here’s why the mouth-watering Pumpkin should be a part of your diet:
Pumpkins contain Vitamin A, B2, C, E, Potassium, Copper, Iron and Manganese. They also contain small amounts of Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc and Folate.
Pumpkins are high in Beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A, and strengthens the immune system. It also helps the body resist infections. Pumpkins are high in Vitamin C, which increases white blood cell production, helping immune cells work better and heal wounds easily. The Vitamin E, Iron and Folate content strengthens immunity.
Good For Eyes
In addition to Vitamin A, Pumpkin contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which lowers risk of age related macular degeneration and the risk of cataracts, so Pumpkins protect your eyes as you age.
Aid Weight Loss
Pumpkins are packed with fibre and nutrients and low in calories (under 50 calories per cup). They can suppress your appetite and may promote weight loss in a calorie restricted diet.
The high antioxidant content in Pumpkins neutralises free radicals, and stops them from damaging your cells. Pumpkins contain Alpha Carotene, Beta Carotene and Beta Crystoxanthin, all of which are linked to lower risks of stomach, throat, pancreas and breast cancers.
For a Healthy Heart
Pumpkins are high in Potassium, Vitamin C and fibre which help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes. Antioxidants help lower 'LDL' (bad) cholesterol and increase 'HDL' (good) cholesterol, making Pumpkins great for heart health.
The Vitamin C content in Pumpkins promote the formation of collagen, a protein that keeps your skin healthy and strong. Also the Beta Carotene content acts as a natural sunblock.
Good for Weaning
Pumpkins are easily digested and rarely cause allergies, which make them an excellent choice as weaning food.
Pumpkin seeds are often prescribed in conjunction with a purgative such as castor oil as a treatment for worms. They are also excellent for Prostate issues.
On a personal note, my father who by God's grace, lived with prostate cancer till age 97, had a small handful of pumpkin seeds daily.
Pumpkin is healthy and safe if eaten in moderation. However, Pumpkin based junk foods like pie fillings and Pumpkin Lattes are full of added sugar so please stay away from them.