Pumpkin is a tasty and affordable goodie
For Europeans, pumpkin is far from being exotic — but not everyone knows about its benefits. Even though pumpkin is called autumn’s chief vegetable, its oil and seeds are available all year round. Just like the pulp, those seeds and oil contain the most valuable vitamin T; a bunch of rare minerals; more protein than quail eggs; and, finally, the carotene concentration higher than that of carrots.
How pumpkin can help you
Pumpkin pulp gets digested perfectly and so it is valued as a source of carotene and recommended for children and adults by dietetics experts. For health purposes, people usually use fresh juice, raw or dried seeds, and oil. By enriching the diet with this food, you can get rid of a few extra pounds, normalize metabolism, cleanse the body from toxins, improve digestion, enhance heart and liver function, boost your stock of strength and health.
Pumpkin is a relatively easy-to-cultivate perennial or annual plant with large rough leaves; originally, it came from North America. It is categorized as a berry.
The size and color of the fruit differ depending on the species, which are as many as 20 in total. This plant is usually cultivated for the sake of edible pumpkins, also it is used as fodder and for decorative purposes. In Ukraine, the most common varieties are summer squash and pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo).
Concentration of nutrients in pumpkin
- Water, organic acids, fructose, glucose, pectins, fiber.
- Vitamins or provitamins: A, B, C, D, E, F, K, PP, and that very rare vitamin T.
- Zinc, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium...
Pumpkin seeds are good for the liver and as a natural anthelmintic agent. Those seeds contain no fewer vitamins and microelements than fruits do. Still, they beat the fruits in a couple of things:
- They contain phospholipids, sterols, phosphatides, and the amino acid L-arginine — furthermore, the content β-carotene in them is at least 4 times higher than in carrots.
- This food is a record holder for zinc content. A man needs to eat only 30 grams daily to cover up to 80% of his need for this microelement, which is so important for spermatogenesis, the prostate gland and the prevention of adenoma.
When cooked, stewed or baked, pumpkin pulp loses some of its useful properties. For instance, out of 340 mg of potassium (per 100 g of the food), only 230 mg remains. Ripened fruits collected from the field are best to be stored for no more than 3 months; afterwards, the carotene concentration is reduced by at least 50% and the food quality is somewhat affected.
The maximum benefit of pumpkin can be preserved by way of making cold-pressed oil from its seed, without subjecting them to heat. The result is a concentrate of fat-soluble active substances and vital acids:
- about 30% of palmitic and stearic acids (in total);
- 40-57% linoleic acid;
- 25-41% oleic acid and others.
The beneficial properties of pumpkin are often underestimated. Meanwhile, it is an affordable and highly nutritious product that significantly helps to strengthen the barrier functions of your body.
7 reasons to add pumpkin to the family menu
- Low-calorie food that promotes digestion. Simultaneously, it has a mild laxative and diuretic effect. Dietary fiber cleans the intestines from stagnant wastes and removes toxins.
- Thanks to the vitamin T content, pumpkin does not allow the body to store excess fat cells, thus helping to bring the body weight back to normal.
- After entering the body, β-carotene is transformed into vitamin A, which makes pumpkin the vital food for eye health.
- Potassium has a positive effect on the heart, it reduces the risk of hypertension with regular use.
- The high zinc content will help improve men’s health; it has a positive effect on the synthesis of sex hormones and seminal fluid, erectile function (especially for those in their 40ies ), as well as the prostate gland function.
- Magnesium and unsaturated fats contribute to better absorption of vitamin D.
- Pumpkin suits the entire family, it is wholesome for children, adults, and elderly.
How it is usually used
- Pumpkin pulp is used to cook first and second courses, salads and desserts. The most nutritious cooking options are boiled and baked pumpkin. This food is rich in fiber. It promptly deals with hunger and allows you to maintain a feeling of satiety for a long time. In combination with honey, it soothes the nervous system and acts as an antidepressant.
- People drink its fresh juice to boost the immune system, especially during colds and epidemics of flu. Pumpkin juice compresses will help with burns, dermatitis of various types, and psoriasis.
- Natural pumpkin seed oil normalizes intestinal peristalsis, improves the functioning of the liver and gall, helps preserve vision, accelerates the healing of wounds and burns, cleanses the skin from acne. Those taking it regularly will be able to maintain a firm immunity until the ripe age.
- Application in cosmetology. Pumpkin clears, nourishes, and moisturizes the skin. You can prepare masks from freshly pureed pumpkin, combined with honey, egg whites, and oil, which are then added to healthcare products and applied to split ends.
Pumpkin pulp is not recommended for patients with severe forms of diabetes mellitus. It is not recommended to take pumpkin oil during acute periods of chronic digestive disorders. Raw pumpkin juice should not be taken by people with ulcers, as well as gastritis and hypoacidity. It is necessary to beware of allergies and individual intolerance associated with this food.