Medal earner of the week – The Humble Pumpkin
A food that can help reduce wrinkles and protect skin from UV rays?
A food that has no saturated fat or cholesterol?
A food rich in fibre?
A food that can help protect us from eye disease?
A food that is so low in calories it can seriously help reduce weight?
A food that can aid our digestive system?
A food that is packed with vitamins and minerals?
A food that can boost immunity?
Yes! And more. The humble pumpkin is the flavour of the month in more ways than one.
Pumpkin is one of the very low calorie vegetables. 100 g provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; it is rich in dietary fibre, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. Pumpkin is recommended by dieticians for cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.
Features the highest levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes.
It is an essential vitamin for good visual sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protect against lung cancers.
- It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds that convert into vitamin A inside the body.
- Zea – zanthin is a natural anti-oxidant, which has UV rays filtering action in the retina of the eye helping to protect from age-related macular disease.
- 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 are an excellent source of dietary fibre 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 30% of the daily requirements of niacin, selenium (17% of RDA), 71% zinc etc., but no cholesterol. Further, the seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid tryptophan.
It’s low in calories: All low-calorie foods won’t keep you full, but pumpkin is a nutrient-dense food where you truly get your bang for your buck. One cup of creamy and satisfying pumpkin puree weighs in at just over 80 calories.
It’s high in fibre: When you’re looking to take off weight, eating a diet that’s rich in fibre is essential, since high-fibre foods keep your digestive system running smoothly and keep you feeling full for longer. Just one cup of pumpkin offers seven grams of protein, so eat your fill to support your weight-loss goals.
It can boost your immunity: If you constantly battle bugs during the cooler months of year, it’s essential to enjoy a diet that’s high in vitamins and minerals that will support your health. High in vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and iron, pumpkin is full of nutrients that keep your body running in tip-top shape.
How to Enjoy
Blended in a smoothie: A few minutes is all you need to create a rich-tasting, pumpkin smoothie, a quick and easy breakfast that supports weight loss.
Cooked in a curry: Pumpkin brings a kick of spice to your healthy table. It’s the perfect plant-based main dish.
Stirred in a soup: This vegan pumpkin soup with coconut milk will curb dairy cravings; coconut milk thickens things up, leaving you with the perfect smooth, rich texture.
Inside out: Whether you’re all ready carving a pumpkin up with your kids or roasting the flesh for a recipe, don’t toss those seeds! They’re high in healthy fats, antioxidants, and are a good source of fiber and protein. Roast and enjoy them as a crunchy topping, add to muesli of serve as nibbles.