Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a large round fruit with a thick skin and a hollow centre with numerous small,off- white colored seeds interspersed in a net like structure .It is a fast-growing vine that creeps along the surface in a similar fashion like that of other Cucurbitaceae family vegetables and fruits such as cucumber , squash , cantaloupes, etc.It is one of the largely grown vegetables

 Pumpkin Fruits are rich in Vitamins ,antioxidants and less in calorie while pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.Almost all the parts of the pumpkin plant; fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds, are edible.

Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits of Pumpkin
 Pumpkin  is one of the very low calorie vegetables. 100 g fruit provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, it is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. The vegetable is one of the food items recommended by dieticians in cholesterol control and weight reduction programs.

Pumpkin has soothing properties on the whole digestive system, as well as mild diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties,that is why it is recommended for people suffering from constipation, stomach acidity, intestinal fermentation and difficult digestion (dyspepsia).

The cucurbitacin contained in pumpkin acts particularly on the prostate, reducing its inflammation and slowing down its enlargement. Although it cannot reduce the already formed excessive growth. No wonder for centuries the Balkan peasants of Russia have successfully used the juice of pumpkin to maintain the well being of the prostate gland.

Pumpkin seeds are recommended as a highly effective remedy for urinary and bladder related conditions in both men and women because of the active component of its seeds which acts on the urinary bladder, reducing its inflammation and relaxing it.

It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as a, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body. Zea-xanthin is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in retina of the eyes. Thus, it may offer protection from “age-related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly.

Also, pumpkin works as a vermifuge by using the cucurbitacin which is one of its vital contents in detaching the head of tapeworms from the intestine walls. Administration of a purgative substance is done once the worm is detached. The pumpkin seeds are perfect for children suffering from intestinal parasites and also for roundworms because the effective vermifuge action of the pumpkin seeds have no risk.

Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E . Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucosa. It is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A may help human body protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.

It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as a, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.

The fruit is a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.

It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Pumpkin seeds indeed are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health. In addition, the seeds are concentrated sources of protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins. For instance, 100 g of pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories, 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA),

zinc (71%) etc., but no cholesterol. Further, the seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to GABA in the brain.

Juice made from pumpkin neutralizes the effect of poison, cures acidity, causes an increase in the flow of urine.Only the ripe pumpkin should be used and its seeds also used with the pulp while extracting the juice.

Selection and storage

Pumpkins can be readily etc available in the market year around. Buy completely developed, whole pumpkin fruit instead of its sections. Look for mature fruit that features fine woody note on tapping, heavy in hand and stout stem. Avoid the one with wrinkled surface, cuts and bruises.

Once at home, ripe, mature pumpkin may be stored for many weeks under cool, well-ventilated place at room temperature. However, cut sections should be placed inside the refrigerator where it can keep well for a few days.

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