October is the month of pumpkin spice and everything nice! Sure, pumpkins make great seasonal decorations and even better pie, but did you know that pumpkins also pack a ton of hidden health benefits? Incorporating pumpkin into your diet can dramatically improve overall health, and this fruit even tastes good!
Eating pumpkin slows down digestion and makes you feel fuller longer, aiding in weight loss. One cup of mashed pumpkin contains 2.7 grams of fiber—10% of your daily value—and only has 49 calories. Additionally, one cup of pumpkin seeds contains a whopping 12 grams of dietary fiber, which is 48% of your daily value!
Because pumpkin is rich in fiber, it not only promotes healthy digestion, but also supports heart health by reducing bad cholesterol. All these health benefits found in pumpkin makes this fruit the perfect addition to recipes and snacks in your efforts to lose weight.
Like many other orange fruits and vegetables, pumpkins contain vitamins and minerals that help improve and prolong eyesight. In fact, one cup of pumpkin contains almost 200% of you daily intake of Vitamin A, a vitamin that protects the eye’s cornea and helps boost and prolong vision, especially in dim lighting.
According to WebMD, another health benefit of pumpkin is its high levels of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and fight against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Another surprising hidden health benefit of pumpkin is its ability to rebuild muscles after a workout. Pumpkin has exceptionally high levels of potassium. In fact, one cup of mashed pumpkin contains 546 grams of potassium, almost 7% of your daily intake. Potassium is a crucial vitamin for promoting muscular growth and strength.
Potassium is also a key nutrient in fueling muscular energy. This means that it is beneficial to eat pumpkin before a workout to give muscles an energy boost, but also just as important to eat pumpkin after a workout to rebuild muscles and get optimum results.
Expensive skin regimens and facials are not the only way to younger-looking skin. That’s right; a daily dose of pumpkin may give you the results you’re looking for!
Another surprising health benefit of pumpkin is its high levels of beta-carotene (the pigment that gives pumpkins their bright orange hues). Beta-carotene protects our skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, reducing signs of wrinkles and aging. Furthermore, pumpkin is packed full of fruit enzymes, healthy acids, and vitamins which help reduce acne, brighten and smooth skin, and boost collagen production when applied topically.
Incorporating pumpkin into your diet will reap huge health benefits over time, and this fruit is much easier to integrate into your diet than you’d think. For example, try sauteeing some pumpkin for a quick side dish at dinner. Or, check out this pumpkin oatmeal recipe from the Mayo Clinic. There are tons of surprising health benefits of pumpkin, all of which will leave you looking and feeling better than ever!
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website.