Yes, pumpkin spice everything has returned for the season. But the orange fruit/berry/gourd is more than just half of a trendy flavor that invades all things edible during autumn. It’s also a superfood.
Here are five reasons you should incorporate more pumpkin into your diet not just when it’s in season, but all year long.
Carrots aren’t the only orange food that can help your eyesight. Pumpkins are full of vitamins and minerals.
One of those is beta carotene, which our bodies turn in to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps us see better in low light and helps keep our retinas and corneas healthy.
Pumpkin also is high in vitamin C, which can help reduce our risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup of pumpkin contains 116 grams of fiber, which is good for your heart.
High fiber foods can lower your bad cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic states, as well as reduce blood pressure and inflammation — all of which are good for maintaining heart health.
All that fiber, coupled with very few calories (about 30 per cup), can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
“Pumpkins are high in fiber but low in calories, which means they can help you feel full without increasing your overall food intake,” said Joshua George, R.D., Clinical Nutrition and Patient Services manager at Inspira Health. “Because they’re such a good source of fiber, pumpkins can also help curb your appetite.”
Your cancer risk
“Pumpkins are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, making them a cancer-fighting food,” George said in an Inspira Health article. “Because they’re rich in vitamin A, pumpkins also lower your risk for certain types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.”
Pumpkins also contain carotenoids, which might lower your risk of developing throat, pancreatic, stomach and breast cancer.
In addition to vitamin A and beta carotene, pumpkin contains vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and folate.
These can strengthen your immune system to help ward off diseases. Not only that, these vitamins and minerals can help your body heal quicker when you get a cut or other wound.
Whether you eat your pumpkin fruit roasted or in a soup, or just like to munch on its seeds, there are many benefits to consuming the real deal and not just a pumpkin-flavored treat.