Pumpkin is gaining more hype for all the right reasons. It’s loaded with antioxidants and healing properties. Learn the top 8 benefits of pumpkin; From skin health to immunity, you’ll see why this superfood is super great for you.
Y’all, it’s pumpkin season again, folks!
Who am I kidding? It may be called winter squash by some, but it’s pumpkin season in our kitchen all year-round. There are no limits when it comes to this orange beauty.
Because what’s not to love? It’s filling, versatile, and nutrient-dense. It goes well with…almost everything.
As long as you’re going for healthy and clean eating, pumpkins should be a staple in your diet.
There are so many reasons to enjoy pumpkin more often, and I’ll be sharing eight benefits with you here.
Is Pumpkin A Superfood?
Pumpkin is considered a superfood (pumpkin seeds are too) and has been having a moment for quite a while now. And I’m all for it! From pumpkin spice lattes to healthy pancakes, pumpkin is making waves, and for good reason.
This fruit (yeah, I was surprised too but it is indeed a fruit, not a vegetable) has garnered superfood status because it is so nutrient-dense.
There are many reasons to add pumpkins to your list of staples (like the 7.1 grams of fiber per cup) and what I’m trying to foreshadow is…it’s more than just for trendy drinks! Keep reading to find out why.
Does Pumpkin Help With Inflammation?
Yes, pumpkin is an excellent anti-inflammatory food! To reduce inflammation, you’ll want to eat more superfoods like pumpkins which are rich in antioxidants.
Pumpkins are full of nutrition and fortified with the antioxidants alpha-carotene (fights cardiovascular disease), beta-carotene (a carotenoid that helps boost vitamin A), and beta-cryptoxanthin. Triple threat! These compounds help neutralize free radicals, preventing them from causing inflammation and damaging your cells.
It’s important to note that inflammation isn’t generally a bad thing since it’s your body’s way of fighting diseases, viruses, and toxins. You want to avoid chronic inflammation because this can lead to more severe diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart problems, etc.
What Is The Best Way To Eat Pumpkin?
There are many ways to enjoy pumpkins, so don’t be afraid to get creative! I love how they can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory recipes. For easier and faster prep, you can make pumpkin puree ahead of time and use it for these dishes. Think about it. Pumpkin pairs well with yummy spices like nutmeg and cinnamon to make some of the best treats and dishes you’ll ever taste.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat pumpkin:
- Make ice cream
- Infuse it into your latte for a fab pumpkin spice latte
- Bake low sugar pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
- Make frozen yogurt
- Bake healthy pumpkin bread
- Make pumpkin pancakes
- Prep some pumpkin pie overnight oats
- Blend it into a protein smoothie
- Bake a pumpkin pie from scratch
Is Pumpkin Good For The Gut?
Pumpkin is good for your gut because it’s a good source of fiber (7 grams per cup)! Fiber acts as a prebiotic, which means it supports the good bacteria in your gut by helping them multiply.
Good bacteria can help you with digestion and keep harmful bacteria in check. The more good bacteria you have, the healthier your gut is.
Gut health is also vital for maintaining a robust immune system, brain and heart health, better mood, and restorative sleep.
What Happens If I Eat Too Much?
Overeating pumpkin can cause your skin to turn a bit orange, caused by excessive levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene in your blood. This is the same compound that gives carrots and squashes their orange hue.
Another possible side effect of consuming too many pumpkins is a mineral imbalance which could lead to constipation, bloating, etc. So, enjoy pumpkin but don’t go overboard!
I’ve gotta note this here, too. Pumpkin pie fillings don’t make the grade because they are filled with ingredients like sugars and additives.
Fresh pumpkin puree is always my go-to pumpkin, but if plain, unseasoned canned pumpkin is your way of adding this nutritional food to your smoothies, shakes, and muffins, that’s okay too. Just stay away from the pumpkin pie filling.
8 Benefits Of Pumpkin
From reducing the risk of some cancers to a welcomed immune boost, here are my favorite health benefits of pumpkin…
1. Pumpkin May Lower Blood Sugar
Fiber helps regulate your blood sugar, and the good news is, pumpkins are an excellent source! So if you’re living with diabetes or at risk for it, upping your dose of fiber-rich foods like pumpkin may help reduce the risk. Pumpkin polysaccharides can affect blood sugar levels in a good way, according to studies.
2. Reduced Cancer Risk
Eating beta-carotene-rich foods like pumpkin may lower the risk of certain cancers such as prostate, breast, and colon cancer. Because pumpkins are nutrient-dense and loaded with antioxidants, they’re considered a cancer-fighting food.
3. Pumpkin May Prevent Heart Disease
Tomatoes are usually lauded for this benefit but did you know that pumpkins are also an excellent way to keep your heart healthy? The high potassium content can help lower blood pressure (which helps prevent heart disease and stroke). More than worth it if you ask me!
4. Boost Your Immunity
Don’t limit yourself to citrus fruits to get your immunity boost! Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which keep your immune system protected. If that’s not enough, you’ll also be getting a good dose of iron, folate, and Vitamin E for an added layer of strength.
5. Weight Loss Help
Pumpkin is filling, low-calorie, and packed with fiber. This trio of characteristics makes it SO GOOD for weight-loss. Fiber-rich foods are great for shedding pounds because they keep you fuller, longer. Pumpkin is easily added to soups and salads, not to mention pumpkin seeds make awesome snacks when you crave crunch.
Did I mention pumpkins are only 50 calories per cup? Discover more high-fiber foods here.
6. Pumpkin May Help In Muscle Recovery
If you work out, pumpkin might just be your next best buddy. Potassium helps with muscle recovery and just one cup of pumpkin contains 400 milligrams! It’s also great for restoring electrolytes that refuel and protect overworked muscles.
7. Improved Skin Health
Pumpkin helps your skin produce more collagen. In turn, collagen helps improve your skin’s elasticity keeping it plump and youthful. The beta-carotene in pumpkin also helps improve your skin’s texture (and protects it from UV damage).
8. Pumpkin May Improve Eye Health
Rich in Lutein, Zeaxanthin (these are 2 more carotenoids), and Vitamin A, eating pumpkin regularly can maintain good eye health. As well as lowers risks of eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Delicious Pumpkin Recipes
No need to eat plain pumpkin to reap the benefits. Here are some delicious pumpkin recipes that are easy to make and very tasty:
- Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (Low Sugar)
- Homemade Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
- 5-Minute Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
- 15-Minute EASY Pumpkin Ice Cream
- The Best Pumpkin Pie
- Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
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