Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.
It’s native to North America and particularly popular around Thanksgiving and Halloween.
In the US, pumpkin typically refers to Cucurbita pepo, an orange type of winter squash. In other regions, such as Australia, pumpkin may refer to any type of winter squash.
While commonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit, as it contains seeds. That said, it’s nutritionally more similar to vegetables than fruits.
Beyond its delicious taste, pumpkin is nutritious and linked to many health benefits.
Here are 9 impressive nutrition and health benefits of pumpkin.
Highly Nutritious and Particularly Rich in Vitamin A
Pumpkin has an impressive nutrient profile.
One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains (2):
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.
Besides being packed with vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is also relatively low in calories, as it’s 94% water
It’s also very high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body turns into vitamin A.
Moreover, pumpkin seeds are edible, nutritious and linked to numerous health benefits.
High Antioxidant Content May Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Diseases
Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. Though highly unstable, they have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria.
However, excessive free radicals in your body create a state called oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer
Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells (4).
Test-tube and animal studies have shown that these antioxidants protect skin against sun damage and lower the risk of cancer, eye diseases and other conditions (5)
However, keep in mind that more human-based research is needed to make health recommendations.
Packs Vitamins That May Boost Immunity
Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients that can boost your immune system.
For one, it’s high in beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A
Studies show that vitamin A can strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. Conversely, people with a vitamin A deficiency can have a weaker immune system (7)
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C which has been shown to increase white blood cell production, help immune cells work more effectively and make wounds heal faster
Aside from the two vitamins mentioned above, pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin E, iron and folate — all of which have been shown to aid the immune system as well
Contains Compounds That Promote Healthy Skin
Pumpkins are loaded with nutrients that are great for your skin.
For one, it’s high in carotenoids like beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A.
In fact, one cup (245 grams) of cooked pumpkin packs 245% of the RDI for vitamin A.
Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock.
Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy
Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV rays.
Be Natural Organics uses the finest ingredients available for all of our products. We use organic, wild crafted and Co2 derived plant materials in crafting each product. These ingredients are essential in producing the finest grade oils, for optimal skin nourishment and repair.