Oct 20, 2021

Healthy Life: October is National Pumpkin Month

Did you know each year about 655,765 tons of pumpkins are produced? Besides being great Halloween decorations and pies for Thanksgiving dinner, pumpkins can play major roles in health promotion.

by Dianna Richardson

These orange globes are a treasure trove of important vitamins and minerals.

Pumpkin is actually a variety of squash. It is naturally low in calories. Being a dense food, it is rich in vitamins and minerals such as antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, folate, iron, vitamin A and more! Pumpkin is also a good source of fiber.

Fiber slows the rate of sugar absorption into the blood. This promotes regular bowel movements and improves digestion. It also helps in stopping insulin spikes, making it beneficial to those with high blood sugar issues. Fiber is also an important binding agent for cholesterol. Additionally, many studies have linked adequate fiber intakes to lowering risk factors for developing various cancers.

Additionally, pumpkins contain the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals, stopping cellular damage. We hear a lot about free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. They have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria. However, excessive free radicals in the body creates oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

Another antioxidant, beta-carotene, converts in the body to vitamin A. This gives pumpkin the ability to improve your immunity, as vitamin A is essential for a strong immune system. Keep in mind vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient; it builds and is stored in the body. To avoid vitamin A toxicity, choose vitamin A-rich foods rather than supplements to improve immunity, skin and protect eyesight.

Likewise, eyesight is benefited by lutein and zeaxanthin. Pumpkin is one of the best food sources of these compounds. Lutein and zeaxanthin help lower risks of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration…..

Read more: https://www.newstribune.com/news/features/story/2021/oct/20/healthy-life-october-is-national-pumpkin-month/893030/

Source: News Tribune

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