Pumpkin is a quintessential part of October. From pumpkin patches to jack-o’-lanterns, the bright orange fruit is the month’s shining star. There’s more to the pumpkin than meets the eye. In fact, this sweet fruit is considered a super food and packs plenty of health perks.
First, eating pumpkin may aid weight loss. It’s full of fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller, longer. Because canned pumpkin is 90 percent water, it keeps you hydrated and has few calories.
Second, pumpkin derives its orange color from beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A when consumed. Vitamin A is a crucial nutrient that improves eye health, fights infection and lowers cancer risk.
Third, pumpkin can boost your immune system. A good benefit to reap ahead of the cold and flu season, pumpkin’s vitamins A and C help your body fight infections and viruses, and recover from colds faster.
Fourth, pumpkin has plenty of potassium, a crucial nutrient in regulating body functions and maintaining steady blood pressure.
Lastly, studies have found that pumpkin can reduce glucose levels in the body and increase insulin production, which can help people with diabetes.
Look for ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet this season. Aside from pumpkin bread and pie, you can use pumpkin as the base of a smoothie; add it to oatmeal, waffle or pancake batter for breakfast; mix it with pasta or mac-and-cheese; swirl it into hummus for an extra sweetness; or combine with yogurt as a parfait.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy pumpkin, and regardless of how you choose to consume it, you’ll reap its health benefits.