Fall is in the air, and everywhere you look, you’re seeing the month’s favorite starlet: pumpkin. This festive, colorful squash is more than just a seasonal decoration. Loaded with nutritional benefits, pumpkins are in their prime season during October and November. Stock up at your local pumpkin patch or grocery store to reap the health benefits!
Top Health Benefits of Pumpkins
May Boost Your Immune System
Pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which your body transforms into vitamin A. Studies have shown that maintaining proper levels of this vitamin can help strengthen your immune system.1 Additionally, pumpkin contains vitamin C, which can support your body’s production of white blood cells and make your immune system more efficient.2
May Promote Healthy Eyesight
Studies have shown that vitamin A deficiencies are commonly linked to blindness. 3,4 Although vitamin A deficiency is not common in the U.S., when added to a balanced diet, the vitamin A found in pumpkin may help lower your risk of developing cataracts. 5 Lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that give pumpkin its vibrant color, also contribute to maintaining eye health.
May Support Heart Health
Pumpkins contain potassium, which, when eaten as part of a balanced diet, can decrease the risk of two known contributors to heart disease: blood pressure and strokes. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, maintaining the proper level of potassium can help to stabilize your blood pressure and reduce your risk of strokes. 6,7
Can Contribute To Healthy Skin
Pumpkins contain vitamins A, C, and E, as well as antioxidants, which come together to help protect and maintain your skin’s health. Vitamin C contributes to keeping your skin healthy and strong, while antioxidants, carotenoids, and vitamin E have a protective effect on skin.
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
“Pumpkin spice” may be everywhere nowadays, but most of these foods contain very little pumpkin. Instead, the term usually refers to the blend of seasonings that are found in pumpkin pie recipes (like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice). To get the nutritional benefits listed above, you’ll have to consume real pumpkin. This colorful squash can be used to create traditional autumn favorites, like pumpkin soup. Pumpkin can also be used as a base ingredient in vegan pasta sauce or as the star of the show in unconventional dishes, like a pumpkin stir fry. Of course, you can’t go wrong with adding pumpkin to desserts. For a healthier sweet treat, try orange-date-pumpkin muffins or a mouthwatering frozen pumpkin mousse pie.
This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or substituted for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider with any questions about your health or a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on the internet.