How Healthy Is Pumpkin, and Is Pumpkin High in Fiber?
There are myriad health benefits to eating pumpkin (not so much in Thanksgiving and Christmas pies…). So just how healthy is pumpkin?
Pumpkin is high in many nutrients, which we will list, momentarily. But first I would like to say that I find it so unfortunate that the colorful and robust pumpkin can bask in the limelight only during certain days of the year. Some people like pumpkin pies the rest of the year, as well. What a shame!
This gorgeous guy/gal shines in bright orange, stripes, or pure white and comes in all sizes from huge to babies. Pumpkins are a member of the cucurbit family, which includes cucumbers, gourds, melons, and squash. Great for pies, muffins, and many other delightful recipes, as well as great for table centerpieces or other autumn decorations.
But they are also chock full of nutrients and really should be consumed year round. Case in point: One cup of cooked pumpkin contains a mere 49 calories, but boy is that a cup full of nutrition!
Is Pumpkin High in Fiber?
Yes! Pumpkin is high in fiber, and is said to be 94% water (although in the pumpkins grown for the purpose of carving, much of that would be in the innards, which usually aren’t eaten), so pumpkin is great for hydration.
It is also packed with the following:
- Fiber – 3 grams
- Fat – 2 grams
- Protein – 2 grams
- Carbs – 12 grams
- Vitamin A – 245% of the Reference Daily Intake or RDI
- Vitamin C – 19% of RDI
- Potassium – 16%
- Copper, manganese and vitamin B2 – 11%
- Vitamin E – 10%
- Iron – 8%.
- Other Foods High in Fibre
Pumpkin for Weight Loss
Now pumpkin is one great food for weight loss. The bonus is you can eat more of it than other carbs such as rice and potatoes but still not take in many calories.
Yes, pumpkin is high in fiber, but it is also very high in beta-carotene which your miraculous body turns into vitamin A. Just to be clear, it is vitamin A deficiency that often causes blindness (being deficient in vitamins B12 and D can also contribute to vision loss).
Beta-carotene neutralizes nasty free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells. This lowers the risk of eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Pumpkin Seeds Are Very Healthy, Also
As if all of this is not enough, pumpkin seeds are super healthy as well, and make a great snack.
Pumpkin seeds are high in protein and contain quality oils, amino acids, and other plant compounds.
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the prostate gland. The seeds contain the amino acid L-tryptophan which raises serotonin levels, easing depression.
Let’s take a little side trip here.
Experts say that adding two and a half cups of pumpkin to your meals each week will help you to stay calm and less prone to anxiety. Try adding pumpkin to your smoothies or puree it and add it to your morning oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon and maple syrup.
Potassium and Antioxidants In Pumpkin
Pumpkins contain antioxidants, including vitamin C, which is used to produce collagen, which keeps your skin strong and healthy. Of course, vitamin C and other antioxidants play other very important roles as well, such as in hormone regulation, immune stimulation, neurotransmission, iron absorption, and in detoxifying the body of heavy metals.
The potassium in pumpkin is excellent for lowering blood pressure and preventing strokes.
As well, pumpkin is very easy to add to your diet and super delicious. It is also ambidextrous. It is sweet enough to be added to pies, custards, and other desserts, but it is
also savory, so perfect for roasted vegetables, soups, and pastas. I have made homemade pumpkin ice cream and it is sooooo delicious.
Moderation. Remember moderation.
For those who hate the mess or just do not have the time to cut open, de-seed, and scoop out the pumpkin pulp it is readily available canned. Just make sure you read the label to ascertain whether you are getting pure pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling which has added sugar and other ingredients.
Which brings me to the other caution about pumpkin. I am sure you health savvy eaters know to avoid pumpkin-based junk foods. Remember added sugar is our enemy.
So, How Healthy is Pumpkin?
I hope this has answered the question, “how healthy is pumpkin?”, and there you have the health benefits of pumpkin, this delicious beast.
So get on down to the local pumpkin patch while they are in season. Take the kids and make it a day trip. Stock up for nutritious meals. You only have a few days left!
If you have found this article informative, or have anything to add to this information, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.