Discover the 5 shocking health benefits of pumpkin.
With the arrival of fall, it is also the return of our favorite squash and the pumpkin party, Halloween. From pumpkin lattes to home-decorating pumpkins, you’ll soon see them everywhere! Did you know that you can eat all parts of the pumpkin? From the skin to the seeds, even the tail can be roasted or steamed and seasoned!
With all these ways to enjoy this magnificent squash, we’ve collected the most exciting health benefits of pumpkin for you so you can eat it guilt-free.
Containing 90% water, pumpkins are low in calories while providing a lot of nutrients. They contain more fiber than kale, more potassium than bananas and are full of magnesium, manganese and iron. Pumpkins are also a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B2.
Pumpkin seeds are a perfect snack and also work as an anti-inflammatory having the potential to reduce symptoms of inflammation. In addition, they are delicious and have no side effects!
Pumpkins are very high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is associated with a lower risk of cancer.
Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, and pumpkin contains approximately 245% of the recommended daily allowance in one serving. In addition, it contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help prevent the onset of cataracts and may slow the development of macular degeneration.
The right amount of potassium in pumpkin is beneficial for the heart, to regulate pressure and to support general cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that getting a good amount of potassium is important for supporting people with high blood pressure, just as it is important to reduce sodium intake.
What contraindications does pumpkin have?
Pumpkins and their seeds do not present significant contraindications or toxicity problems , as is evident from an edible food.
However, there are a number of doubts about its consumption, usually related to food myths or contraindications related to allergies or personal intolerances.
An allergy to pumpkins and pumpkin seeds has been described . In any case, the affected people should not consume any part of this vegetable , even in small quantities.
Both the pulp and the seeds can cause allergy symptoms, which can be triggered by contact with the plant ( urticaria ), by ingestion and by inhaling the vapors when cooking these foods.
However, this type of allergy is not very common and has not yet been studied in depth. For example, not all the proteins that cause this type of allergy have been isolated.
There is some controversy among professionals about whether people with an allergy to pumpkin pulp can eat pumpkin seeds. In any case, it is recommended to avoid the ingestion of both the seeds and the pulp of the pumpkin, and to consult with the doctor, as it depends on each particular case.
People with a pumpkin allergy may also have allergies to other foods
Botanically, pumpkins belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and are related to a wide variety of foods, such as melons , watermelons , zucchini (Italian squash) or cucumbers . People allergic to pumpkins may also have allergies to these other vegetables and fruits, because the allergy-causing components are phylogenetically similar between species of the same botanical family.
There are a series of symptoms that can alert us to a possible oral allergy to raw pumpkin or its seeds. These are those grouped within the oral allergy syndrome (OAS), a type of allergic reaction that occurs in the oral cavity due to components of gourds called profilins .
This type of reaction only has effects in the oral cavity, so it is considered less serious. Also, most profilins are destroyed by cooking , so it may not happen with cooked vegetables.
It is advisable to be alert, especially for approximately the first 30 minutes after these symptoms occur, to avoid confusing it with an allergy with effects on the whole organism. Problems from impaired breathing can also occur.
There is a myth that pumpkins contain a lot of sugar and therefore people with diabetes should not consume them. This is a false myth, as pumpkins, like many other vegetables, do not have a high glycemic index and load.
Pumpkin has very few carbohydrates and fats, and due to its rich vitamins and antioxidant power, they are recommended in the diet for diabetes .
Pumpkins and their seeds are suitable in case of following a diet for migraines , as they do not contain histamine .
Anecdotally, we can cite pumpkins and other cucurbits, contain a type of antinutrient called ascorbic acid oxidase which destroys vitamin C .
However, this is rather a curiosity, since the ingestion of pumpkins does not cause any nutritional or digestive problems due to lack of vitamin C, since this component is very scarce and its effects are laughable.
To get the most of the health benefits of pumpkins, be sure to consume them fresh and whole instead of the conventional cane versions with added sugar.