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20 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin (Squash)

Pumpkin ( Cucurbita) is a cultivar of the squash plant and is available in many different varieties. Depending on the place of the cultivation, it can be available in different textures. It is native to North America but is now cultivated in many regions of the world. Being a good source of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients etc. it provides a number of health benefits, and in this article, we will know about the major health benefits of pumpkin, but first, let’s take a look at below mentioned nutrition chart of pumpkin.

 

Nutrition Chart of Pumpkin

Nutrition Chart of Pumpkin
Source-USDA

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Source-Pixabay.com

 

(1) Keeps Our Cardiovascular System Healthy

Consuming pumpkin on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for our heart and helps in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients etc. in them.

The antioxidants like the Vitamin C and beta-carotene and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, flavonoids etc. present in the pumpkin fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, including the heart and the entire cardiovascular system.

Similarly, the mineral “Potassium” present in the pumpkin acts as a vasodilator which means it relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus helps in controlling high blood pressure or hypertension.

As hypertension is a leading cause of cardiovascular problems, so by controlling hypertension, it helps in controlling cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat etc.

The folate content present in the pumpkin helps in removing homocysteine from our body which is a leading cause of heart problems.

Last but not the least, pumpkin is also rich in dietary fibers that are very effective in managing cholesterol level in our body. It boosts the production of good HDL cholesterol from our body and reduces bad LDL cholesterol.  It helps in reducing the risk of clogging of arteries and thus reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.

(2) Aids In Weight Loss

Pumpkin is very beneficial for the individuals who are on a weight loss regime or who would like to get rid of some extra pounds.

This weight loss benefit of pumpkin is mainly because of the low calorific value of pumpkin. It should be noted that eating 100 grams of pumpkin provides only 26 kcals of energy which means one can enjoy pumpkin without worrying about the excessive weight gain.

It is also a good source of dietary fibers that keep our stomach fuller and satisfied for longer duration and thus decreases our urge to eat again and again.  As overeating is a major cause of obesity, so by controlling overeating, it helps in controlling obesity.

Pumpkin may look a solid kind of vegetable but surprisingly, around 92 percent of pumpkin’s weight is just “water”. Water has no calories but can still decrease overeating by keeping our stomach fuller for a longer duration.

(3) Reduces The Risk of Various Types of Cancers

Consuming pumpkins on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very effective in reducing the risk of development of several types of cancers like colon cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer etc.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene etc. and as well as other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, phytochemicals, flavonoids etc. in them.

These antioxidants fight with the free radicals of our body, stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our body cells.

Free radicals are nothing but the unstabilized ions that gets formed during the oxidation process in our body. As these are unstabilized ions, so, they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and thus cause damage to them.

By protecting our cells from the oxidative damage, it not only reduces the risk of several types of cancer but also aids in keeping signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, skin blemishes etc. at bay.

(4) Make Our Bones Stronger

Consuming pumpkin on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for making our bones stronger, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of calcium and vital minerals like manganese and magnesium in them. Calcium is vital for our bones as it provides strength to our bones.

In addition to this, the manganese present in the pumpkin aids in maintaining healthy bone structure, increase absorption of calcium, and also improves the mineral density of the spinal column.

Another compound like magnesium present in the pumpkin makes our bones stronger.

Pumpkin is also a good source of antioxidants like vitamin C that aids in collagen production in our body which plays a vital role in building bone mass.

Some other minerals like zinc, plays phosphorus, and folate etc. play aa significatory role in maintaining our bone health.

(5) Helps In Maintaining Eye Health

Our eyes are our window to the world as they allow us to enjoy the beauty of this world.

For this reason, it is better for us to take good care of our eyes, and pumpkin has been found to be very effective in doing the same.

It has been found that eating pumpkin on a regular basis is very effective in keeping our eyes healthy as it not only helps in keeping our eyes healthy but also provide protection against, cataract, glaucoma etc.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C, Beta-carotene etc.  present in them.

These antioxidants fight with the free radicals of our body, stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, including our eyes.

By doing so, it protects our eyes from the oxidative stress and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma etc.

The beta-carotene present n the pumpkin gets converted into Vitamin A, which is vital for our eyes and performs many functions like keep our vision sharp, prevents macular degeneration, reduces the risk of cataract etc.

Some other compounds like carotenoid and lutein also play a significant role in maintaining our eye health.

Also Read: 7 Major Side Effects of Overeating Pumpkins (Squash )

(6) Keeps Our Digestive System Healthy

Eating pumpkin on a regular basis has been found to be very beneficial for our stomach and helps in keeping our digestive system healthy.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of dietary fibers and other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in them.

The dietary fibers present in the pumpkin acts as a natural laxative which means it improves our bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of waste from our body.  This helps in providing relief from constipation and also reduces the risk of other digestive disorders like abdominal pain, intestinal gas, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas etc.

In addition to this, the antioxidants present in the pumpkin prevents our stomach from the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals and thus reduces the risk of colon cancer.

(7) Maintains Prostate Health

Pumpkin especially the yellow pumpkin has been found to be very effective in reducing the symptoms of Benign prostatic hypertrophy ( BPH) and also helps in treating it.

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy or BPH is a disease in which our prostate gland gets problematically enlarged causing difficulty in both urinary functions and sexual functions.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of vital mineral “zinc” in it.

In addition to this, certain compounds present in the pumpkin prevents testosterone from getting converted to Dihydrotestosterone ( DHT) which leads to problems like enlargement of the prostate.

Also, the antioxidants present in the pumpkin prevents our prostate gland from the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals and thus reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

(8) Improves Fertility 

As per a report published in the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard health Publications, it was found that eating pumpkins on a regular basis has been found to improve fertility in women.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of iron in them.

In addition to this, other minerals like folic acid, zinc etc. present in the pumpkin also plays a significant role in the same.

Vitamin A present in the pumpkin aids in the hormone synthesis required for lactation, making it a wonder vegetable for nursing women. Pumpkin has also been found good for the pregnant women.

(9) Aids In Reducing PMS Symptoms 

For women, pumpkin is definitely a wonder vegetable. It not only improves fertility, is beneficial during pregnancy and nursing period, but is also beneficial during “That time” of the month.

Being a good source of manganese, it is very effective in reducing post menstrual syndrome (PMS) associated with the menstrual cycle, and aids in dealing with mood swings, cramps etc.

Some other food sources of manganese are hazelnuts, spinach, whole grains, strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple etc.

(10) Strengthens Our Immune System

Our immune system plays an important role in keeping us healthy as it is the that prevents the pathogens like bacteria and virus from invading our body and thus reduces the risk of various diseases. Even if we get sick,, t is our immune system that fights with the pathogens responsible for the same, and make us healthy again.

For this reason, it is important for us to take good care of our immune system, and pumpkin can help with the same.

It has been found that consuming pumpkins on a regular and moderate basis is very effective in making our immune system stronger, thereby decreasing the risk of various diseases.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like flavonoids, phytonutrients etc. in them.

These antioxidants fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our body cells, including the immune system.

By protecting our immune system from the oxidative stress, it strengthens it and thus reduces the risk of many diseaes like cough, cold, fever etc.

Strengthening of immune system also improves our overall health.

Also Read: 13 Beauty Benefits of Pumpkin For Skin And Hair

(11) Excellent Source of Nutrients

Another important benefit and as well as reason to eat pumpkin on a regular basis is the abundance of nutrients present in them. They are a good source of vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin A etc., minerals like magnesium, folate, copper, riboflavin, potassium phosphorus etc.

In addition to this, they are also a good source of compounds like phytonutrients, carotenoids, flavonoids, dietary fibers etc.

All these compounds plays signficant roles in keeping us healthy.

For example, antioxidants prevents us from the oxidative damage, dietary fibers keep our digestive systemm healthy, potassium helps in controlling high blood pressure and so on.

(13) Good For Diabetic Patients

Consuming pumpkin on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for the people with diabetes or who are at the risk of developing diabetes.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of low sugar content in it.

Although glycemic index of pumpkin is high it’s low carbohydrate content cancels the effect of high glycemic index making it a suitable vegetable for diabetes.

Eating pumpkin slow down the rate at which sugar gets released into the blood stream and this helps in regulating diabetes. In addition to this, they are also a good source of dietary fibers that carry the similar effect and slow down the rate which at sugar gets absorbed into the blood stream.

This makes pumpkin a wonderful vegetable for the diabetic patients.

(14) Controls High Blood Pressure

Eating pumpkin on a regular basis has been found to be very effective in controlling blood pressure level and for providing relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of vital mineral “Potassium”” in it.

Potassium is a vasodilator which means it relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood vessels and thus helps in providing relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.

As hypertension is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems, so, by controlling high blood pressure, it also reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat and so on.

In addition to the potassium, other minerals like zinc and magnesium also play a significant role in controlling blood pressure.

(15) Provides Antioxidantal Benefits

Another important reason to include pumpkin to your regular food plate is their ability to provide numerous antioxidantal benefits.

They are a good source of antioxidants and antioxidantal compounds like Vitamin C, Vitamin A,  flavonoids, phytonutrients etc. that fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilizes them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our body cells.

By doing so, it not only reduces the risk of several types of cancers but also helps in keeping signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots etc. at bay.

They are also effective in making our immune system stronger, keep our cardiovascular system healthy and improve overall health.

(16) Aids In Controlling Cholesterol Level 

Pumpkin has been found to be very effective in controlling our cholesterol level and this also plays an important role in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of dietary fibers in them. The dietary fibers present in the pumpkin aids in the production of good HDL cholesterol and reduces the production of bad LDL cholesterol .

It also helps in eliminating fat, cholesterol, and other substances that clog our arteries and thus increases their efficiency.

By doing so, it also reduces the risk  of atherosclerosis and keeps our cardiovascular system healthy.

(17) Good For Our Respiratory System

Regular and moderate consumption of pumpkin has been found to be very effective for keeping our lungs healthy and for strengthening our respiratory system.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients etc.

The antioxidants present in the pumpkin fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our body organs and cells, including the respiratory system.

Free radicals are nothing but the unstabilized ions that get formed during the oxidation process in our body. As these are unstabilized ions, so, they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and thus cause oxidative damage to them.

In addition to this, the beta-carotene present in the pumpkin provides strength to our lungs and thus reduces the risk of respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis etc.

Also, other nutrients like potassium, zinc, magnesium, manganese etc. also plays a major role in keeping our respiratory system healthy.

(18) Improves Muscle Contractions And Nerve Impulses Transportation

Another important benefit of eating pumpkin on a regular basis is their ability to improve contraction of muscles, and for transporting nerves impulses.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of important electrolytes like calcium, potassium, and magnesium in them. These electrolytes not only improves contraction of muscles but also aids in stimulating nerve signals.

Potassium present in the pumpkin regulates our heartbeat and in combination with sodium, it aids in stimulating contraction of muscles.

Similarly, the magnesium is known for relaxing our heart muscles, while calcium is responsible for the contraction.

(19) Reduces The Risk of Gallstones

Eating pumpkin on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very effective in keeping our kidneys healthy and for reducing the risk of gallstones.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of vital mineral “magnesium” in it.

Magnesium is a vital mineral that performs various functions like maintains bone health, aids in carbohydrate metabolism, regulates blood pressure, aids in contraction and relaxation of muscles etc. It has also been found to be effective in dissolving gallstones.

In addition to this, the dietary fibers present in the pumpkin reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol from our body, and this also helps in preventing gallstones.

Last but not the least, pumpkin is also effective in removing toxins and other impurities from our body. This plays a significant role in keeping our kidneys healthy, and when our kidneys are healthy, the risk of development of kidney stones also get reduced.

(20) Provides Sound Sleep

After a long and tiring day, we all wish for a good night sleep in our comfy bed, but, sometimes it’s hard to get.  Factors like stress, environmental change, food, lifestyle etc. have caused a havoc in our life, and this also reflects in our sleep pattern and number of people suffering from sleep disorders like Insomnia etc. is increasing day by day.

Pumpkin has been found to be effective in providing a good sleep too.

This benefit of pumpkin is mainly due to the presence of “tryptophan” in it.  This compound increases the production of “serotonin” in our body.

Serotonin is a feel-good neurotransmitter that promotes sound sleep and also improves our mood

 

Reference(s)

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/6-reasons-to-eat-more-squash/

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-squash-for-skin-hair-and-health/#gref

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279610.php

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/pumpkin-health-benefits/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html

 

Disclaimer

The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.

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