No matter if it’s autumn or spring, pumpkin is a viable food to add to your diet. You don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to indulge in pumpkin either. It also has a wealth of health benefits that your body will appreciate getting. It’s no wonder why many people have called it a superfood, ranking it with berries, green tea, and yogurt. Thus, here are six health benefits of pumpkin that you might not know.
It helps your eyesight
Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and zinc, which help sharpen your eyesight and keep your retinas and corneas healthy. Not only that, but this superfood can also reduce your macular degeneration and cataract risk. According to Vision Source, “Pumpkin’s vitamin C reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration — two of the leading causes of adult blindness.” This is a groundbreaking way to maintain eye health.
It makes your skin healthy
Pumpkins have the power to help your skin regenerate and look younger. It’s all due to the vitamins and antioxidants in it that boost dermal health. According to the International Dermal Institute, “Pumpkin contains antioxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin C to help soften and soothe the skin and boost collagen production to prevent the signs of aging.” Pumpkin can also benefit your skin as a facial mask, smoothening wrinkles, reducing inflammation, and helping fight acne.
It reduces your breast cancer risk
Pumpkin seeds have what’s called phytoestrogens, a compound found in plants that is similar to human estrogen. Therefore, phytoestrogens give the body more estrogen, which lowers breast cancer risk in women. According to a study conducted by Dr. David Ingram on phytoestrogen intake and breast cancer, “There is a substantial reduction in breast cancer risk among women with a high intake (as measured by excretion) of phytoestrogens-particularly the isoflavonic phytoestrogen equol and the lignan enterolactone.” This gives women even more ways to combat breast cancer.
It boosts your mood
When your mood sours and you need a quick pick-me-up, consider ingesting some pumpkin. Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin—which reduces depressive feelings and boosts your mood. A study was conducted in 2012 about the effects of pumpkin seed extract on depressed animals compared to imipriamine, a common antidepressant. Researchers found a similar effectiveness of all pumpkin seed extracts tested to that of an antidepressant.” The best part? Pumpkin seeds have no psychological or mental side effects.
It keeps your heart healthy
Add cardiovascular health to pumpkin’s many benefits as a superfood. It lowers your heart disease risk with its arsenal of monounsaturated fats, minerals, and vitamins, keeping your heart pumping longer. Your heart isn’t the only thing that benefits from pumpkins; your blood vessels and the rest of your cardiovascular system will also rejoice. According to Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., “Pumpkin is rich in vitamins C, A (beta carotene), and E, as well as magnesium and potassium, which play a key role in keeping blood vessels flexible and improving circulation.” The magnesium and potassium will help lower your blood pressure as well, making sure your body can continue to get the blood supply it needs.
It boosts immune health
Pumpkin is an indispensable food that can help your body in many areas, one of them being your immune system. The orange superfood contains beta-carotene that gives your body support when fighting infections and pathogens, replenishing them and making them stronger. According to Megan Ware, RDN, “Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A. This triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.” The more pumpkin you eat, the better your immune system will be, keeping you from falling prey to common ills, bodily infections, and inflammation.