Fall’s most famous produce isn’t just great for spiced lattes and pie. Pumpkin is full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that can help you lose weight and boost your overall health. Adding pumpkin to sauces and treats — or enjoying roasted pumpkin seeds on your own — may lead better eyesight, an immunity boost, and more.
There are plenty of reasons to consume this fall fruit, but we’ve narrowed it down to five health benefits you’ll enjoy with pumpkin
1. Energy & Weight Loss
Plant foods in general (like pumpkin!) can help you increase your energy while decreasing your risk of obesity and diabetes. One cup of canned pumpkin packs seven grams of fiber, a nutrient that helps you manage your blood sugar levels for consistent energy.
Fiber also makes you feel fuller, longer, so you can keep cravings at bay with a pumpkin-infused meal or snack. And If you’re trying to cut back on saturated fats and calories, canned pumpkin makes a great substitute for cheese or cream.
2. Healthy Eyes
Pumpkin is one of the best sources of beta carotene, an antioxidant that gives pumpkins their vibrant orange color. Our bodies convert beta carotene into Vitamin A, which plays a major role in visual acuity (or sharp eyesight).
In addition to promoting 20/20 vision, pumpkin can help you avoid age-related vision problems. Results from a 2019 clinical study showed that consuming more beta carotene greatly reduced the risk of macular degeneration.
3. Skin & Muscle Protection
The beta carotene that protects your eyes can also keep your skin safe. When your body converts pumpkin’s beta carotene into Vitamin A, the antioxidant works to prevent skin damage or cancer from UV rays.
Along with boosting your skin’s health, pumpkin can also help your muscles recover after a workout. You’ll find lots of zinc and protein in pumpkin seeds; try adding these to yogurt or a salad within 45 minutes of exercising for the best muscle protection.
4. Heart & Liver Health
Just one cup of pumpkin has 14% of your daily dose of potassium! This mineral works together with iron and magnesium to keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure low, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
You can also support liver function by including pumpkin and other antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. These antioxidants help your liver break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates — and filter harmful substances out of your bloodstream.
5. Immunity Boost
Pumpkin’s plentiful antioxidants may help you prevent or slow damage from unstable free radicals, which can cause cancer, heart disease, and other complications. Vitamins A, C, and E are especially useful in fighting disease and repairing damaged cells.
The potassium in pumpkin is also key in helping your body build up immunity and prevent sickness — from the common cold to major disease.
All of pumpkin’s health benefits truly make it a superfood! You’ll love adding pumpkin (and pumpkin seeds) to your snacks and meals for a low-calorie, high-fiber, antioxidant-rich treat.
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