The Nutritious Powerhouse That is Pumpkin
Pumpkin or kaddu as it is known in India, is a popular vegetable, grown during the summer and monsoon season in India. This bright, orange-coloured vegetable is widely used in both savoury and dessert dishes. It is even consumed raw as a juice and in salads.
In the West, pumpkin may refer to ‘Cucurbita Pepo’, a winter squash that is orange in colour. It is seen as a vegetable by most but actually is a fruit as it contains seeds. In North America, pumpkin is prominent during the times of Thanksgiving and Halloween and an important part of the culture.
This unassuming vegetable may not have a glamorous avatar in India as it does in the west, but it is an integral part of Indian cuisines featuring in many dishes. Its scrumptious taste makes it versatile element which can be incorporated easily, and its nutritional profile ensures that it is healthy for the body.
Full of Nutrition
There are plenty of pumpkin benefits; one cup of cooked Pumpkin provides around 49 Calories, 0.2 grams of Fat, 2 grams of Protein, 12 grams of Carbs, 3 grams of Fibre, 19% of Vitamin C, 16% of Potassium, 11% of Copper, 11% Manganese, 11% of Vitamin B2, 10% of Vitamin E and 8% of Iron. Even though packed with minerals and vitamins, pumpkin is low on calories since it contains 94% water. It also has a very high amount of beta – carotene, a carotenoid that your body converts into Vitamin A.
High in Antioxidants
The metabolic process in our body produces free radicals, and if these radicals are in excess then it can cause oxidative stress which can result in illnesses. Pumpkins possess certain antioxidants such as alpha – carotene, beta – carotene and beta – cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants can circumvent these free radicals reducing the chances of chronic diseases.
Filled with Vitamins
A pumpkin is packed with nutrients that can help improve your immune system. Primarily, it is high in beta – carotene which the body ultimately converts into Vitamin A. It is observed that Vitamin A can help improves your overall immune system and battles out infections. Vitamin C is another weapon in its arsenal which helps to improve white blood cells production. Adding on, apart from the two vitamins, pumpkin also provides Vitamin E, Iron and folate. All three happen to be an asset to the immune system.
May protect your eyesight
Eating the right foods can help reduce the risk of eyesight impairment. There are ample pumpkin benefits - the nutrients present in pumpkin help in keeping the eye sight strong even at old age. Beta-carotene content contains Vitamin A. Studies have shown that people with a lack of Vitamin A have a higher risk of eyesight impairment. In addition to Vitamin A, pumpkin is also rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These two nutrients reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Beneficial For The Skin
Pumpkins contain those compounds that is food for the skin. As said before it is high in carotenoid, like beta-carotenoid which your body converts into Vitamin A. Studies have shown that carotenoids like beta – carotene can act as a natural sunblock. Pumpkin is also rich in Vitamin C which is essential for a healthy skin.
Pumpkin, on the whole, can be a healthy addition to your diet. Since its low on calorie and high in water content, it is a great option for those who are watching their weight. Now that you have filled yourself up on several pumpkin benefits, do make it a part of your diet by including it your soups, salads, sabzis and even desserts. Don’t forget to #SpiceUpYourHealth with a pinch of spices and salt to elevate its unique taste. Try one of these recipes the next time you want to add a pumpkin dish to your menu.
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