This year’s celebration of Halloween was different. The streets were as quiet as the cemeteries and had a spookier ambience than the previous Halloween celebrations because of the pandemic. No trick and treats and no Halloween party because of the pandemic restrictions.
A pumpkin carved with human face is one of the most popular symbols of Halloween. The pumpkin, often referred to as a “Jack-O’- Lantern”, used to be associated with the souls of dead people who would make their presence felt by making eerie sounds. Thus the Jack-O’- Lantern was supposed to scare away evil spirits and stop them from entering a house.
There’s much more to this simple fruit than what meets the eye though; pumpkin has numerous health benefits that might surprise you.
The benefits of pumpkins are numerous. Pumpkins can help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of stroke, ease depression, improve bone health, protect your skin from sun damage, promote better digestion, prevent arthritic pain caused by calcium deposits in joints, increase mental clarity, and even help you lose weight! Some ways you can eat pumpkin is in pumpkin pie (seasonal), pumpkin cookies (the Pumpkin Spice Oreos are amazing) or as a substitute for oil in baked goods.
In addition, pumpkin is an excellent source of beta-carotene which the human body converts into Vitamin A. Diets rich in Vitamin A can improve eyesight and boost immunity. The fiber and potassium content of pumpkins also make it effective at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein and iron, helping you stay strong to fight off monsters all night!
The common Halloween decoration might end up surprising you; next time you roast pumpkin seeds at a party, you might want to hold back on the salt since it’s also naturally high in sodium. Finally, pumpkin is commonly used as an alternative treatment for digestive problems.
Regardless of why you choose to dress up as a pumpkin this Halloween or how you decide to use them after trick-or-treating, pumpkin is a healthy treat that can benefit practically everyone!
Below is a list of the top 10 health benefits of pumpkin:
1.) May prevent cancer
The first benefit worth mentioning about pumpkin is its potential ability to help protect against certain cancers. According to one particular study, it was found that women who ate at least one serving of carotenoid-rich vegetables (including pumpkins) had a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to those women who had lower levels of carotenoids. Furthermore, this benefit exists even if the women take hormone replacement therapy, which is known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
2.) Heart healthy
The second benefit of pumpkin is that it’s heart-healthy. First, pumpkins contain good amounts of dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. It can also help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance, making it helpful for people with diabetes. Lastly, pumpkin seeds are rich in L-tryptophan, an amino acid that may ease depression and promote relaxation by inducing sleepiness at night.
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3.) Promotes weight loss
If you’re looking for something to make you feel full without eating too much, then eat some pumpkin. It contains decent amounts of dietary fiber, which can help you feel full faster and stay full for longer periods of time. By making you feel full, it will help prevent over-eating.
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4.) Boosts immune system
Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can improve the health of your immune cells, making them better at killing germs. This helps protect your body from illnesses like colds or the flu. The seeds are also rich in vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that makes it helpful for preventing heart disease.
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5.) Good for skin
Beta-carotene is not only good for your internal organs; it’s also good for the skin. In fact, the antioxidants in pumpkin can help protect your skin from sun damage, making it look more vibrant and youthful.
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6.) May prevent strokes
Another benefit of pumpkins is that they may be able to reduce a person’s risk of stroke. According to a study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, eating at least one serving of baked vegetables per day (which includes pumpkins) could lower a person’s risk of having a stroke by up to 16%.
7.) Healthy bones
The dietary fiber and vitamin K found in pumpkins are both good for bone health. The dietary fiber helps prevent osteoporosis while vitamin K improves calcium absorption. Vitamin A is also important for building strong bones because it helps maintain muscle and bone tissue.
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8.) May ease symptoms of arthritis
The vitamin K in pumpkins is helpful for maintaining strong bones, but it may also help the body get rid of calcium deposits that cause arthritic pain. Vitamin K can be found in leafy greens like kale or spinach, but pumpkin seeds are an easier way to incorporate more vitamin K into your diet.
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9.) Promotes better digestion
Pumpkin contains dietary fiber, which is essential for proper digestion because without this nutrient, waste products will not move through the intestines fast enough. This causes waste to build up, which can lead to constipation. On the other hand, foods rich in dietary fiber stimulate normal bowel movements.
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10.) It’s tasty!
The last benefit is that pumpkins taste great and can be used in a wide variety of dishes. From pumpkin pie and cookies to pumpkin soup and muffins, there’s no shortage of yummy snacks and meals you can make with this versatile ingredient.
What do you think about the benefits? Do you like pumpkin? How do you use it?
I personally love Pumpkin as food as well as decoration during the winter holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite time to eat pumpkin because I eat it basically every single day throughout that time period. The seeds are also really good too. I always buy them from Costco or Fresco since they’re pretty cheap (and sometimes even cheaper than Walmart) and they’re pre-packaged and ready to eat. I just pop out a few in my hand, add some cinnamon and maybe some honey/ maple syrup and it’s delicious! A great snack for when you’re hungry but don’t feel like cooking. That is why my favorite benefit of pumpkin is the taste because it makes everything so much better.