Sunday, October 14, 2012

Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkins in Halloween

The month of October has already begun and the Halloween festival is right round the corner. Every year on 31st October, people from all over the world celebrate Halloween with great zest and enthusiasm. When we think of Halloween, the first thing that strikes our mind is that weird glowing pumpkin head. People carve a face on the front of a pumpkin and then place a lit candle inside it. This decorated pumpkin, also known as Jack-o'-Lanterns, is later placed on the home’s doorsteps after dark. It is believed that these pumpkins will scare away all the evil spirits and ghosts from their home on that night. However, there are many people who use these great pumpkins only for decoration purposes. They are unaware of the fact that these pumpkins are one of the most nutritious fruits available. It is a treasure house of various essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Both flesh and seeds of the pumpkin are fully loaded with disease-fighting nutrients and it offers numerous health benefits. Let’s take a look on some of the important health benefits that are provided by pumpkins.

Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkins in Halloween

Health Benefits of Pumpkins:

1, Pumpkins are a good source of carotenoids, the compounds that provide the pumpkins their bright orange color. Foods rich in carotenoids have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of cancers like lung cancer, bladder, colon, breast, cervical and skin. The carotenoids have also the ability to prevent heart diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration. Moreover, it can really boost your overall immune system.

2, Alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are the two main carotenoids, which are abundantly present in pumpkin. Both these carotenoids are pro-vitamin A carotenoids, which means the body converts them into vitamin A and this vitamin plays a very vital role in the promotion of healthy vision and for proper functioning of the immune system. The beta-carotene acts as an anti-inflammatory and it can actually repair & even reverse the skin damage that is caused by the Sun. While, the alpha-carotene can indeed slow down the aging process and also prevent the tumor growth.

3, Pumpkin is very low in calories and is an excellent source of good dietary fiber. A normal half cup serving of pumpkin contains 5 grams of fiber. It is a really very effective natural remedy for treating gastrointestinal disorders like indigestion, constipation, etc. The high fiber content also helps in reducing the bad cholesterol levels in the blood and in stabilizing the blood sugar levels. Moreover, fiber helps in preventing heart diseases. Eating fiber-rich diet can also help you in shedding pounds, because fiber will make you feel fuller and this in turn will help you to control your food intake.

4, Pumpkins contain a number of essential vitamins, among which certain vitamins like Vitamin A, C, E, riboflavin and folate are found in large concentrations in pumpkins. Vitamin A plays a vital role for the growth and support of bone, teeth, skin, vision and even reproduction. Vitamin C improves the immunity system, lowers the risk of high blood pressure & heart disease, and even regulates the cholesterol levels. Vitamin E promotes healthy skin and helps support cell membrane stabilization. Riboflavin helps with skin and vision, whereas folate facilitates the formation of new cells in the body. Plus, pumpkin contains vitamin B5 which helps in harmonizing the hormone levels and in managing stress.

5, In addition to essential vitamins, pumpkins also contain several minerals including potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. The potassium mineral facilitate in maintaining fluid & electrolyte balance, and also help in maintaining muscle contractions, cell integrity and nerve impulses. Copper helps in the formation of hemoglobin and other such enzymes. Moreover, iron is the key ingredient in hemoglobin and it aids in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body.

6, Pumpkin seeds, also known as Pepitas, are rich sources of protein and essential fatty acids. One ounce of pumpkin seeds can provide approximately 7 grams of protein. These seeds have the ability to provide protection against several health disorders like cancer, arthritis and high blood pressure. It also helps in promoting healthy skin and in improving brain power. Plus, oil extracted from pumpkin seed has high content of phytosterols, the compound which can replace cholesterol in the body and thus helps in reducing the blood cholesterol levels.

7, Pumpkin seeds can work wonders in preventing the disorder of kidney stones. Pumpkin seeds contain special compounds that seem to reduce the levels of substances that create kidney stones, and hence inhibit the kidney stone formation. It has been found that daily intake of 5 to 10 grams of pumpkin seeds can really stimulate the kidneys and avoids the formation of calcium oxalate stones (one of the most common type of human kidney stones).

8, Both pumpkin flesh and seeds contains L-tryptophan, a chemical compound that have anti-depressant properties. It can trigger the feeling of happiness in an individual. As a result, daily intake of pumpkin can really elevate your mood and prevent depression. Plus, the high content of omega-3 fatty acids present in pumpkin seeds play a very important role in improving the overall mental function and memory. The amino acids found in L-tryptophan are utilized to make serotonin, which is a drug used for depression treatment. However, such drugs can result in some strong side effects, particularly when a person is suffering from only a mild case of depression. So, it is always better to go for natural remedy and eat pumpkins to get benefits similar to serotonin without fearing any negative side effects.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More