Pumpkin isn’t just for fall anymore. Studies have shown that eating pumpkin all year round can actually benefit your health. Now you have an excuse to make pumpkin pie and eat pumpkin seeds any time of the year. The following is a list of how eating pumpkin regularly can benefit your health, along with a few bonus recipes at the end.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Do you have high blood pressure or just want to keep it down? Pumpkin seed oil has phytoestrogens, which can help prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure puts you at risk for heat attack and stroke, so it is important to keep it in check as you get older.
Research showed that rats whose diet included this oil lowered their blood pressure in 12 weeks. That reason alone is good enough to add pumpkin oil to your cooking. Pumpkin oil can be found at your local grocery store and is pretty easy to add to your favorite recipe. You will be surprised how much better soups and baked goods taste with pumpkin oil.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Do you have a family history of heart disease or want to make sure you’re around for the long haul? Keep your heart healthy by putting more fiber in your diet. So what has a good source of fiber? Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds of course.
Ways to Add More Pumpkin
A good way to eat these is roasting pumpkin and putting it in a soup, adding seeds to the top of a salad, or roasting seeds and eating them plain. You can even add pumpkin into a smoothie for a little more protein and fiber combination. In addition to the fiber, pumpkin seeds have been shown to contain phytosterols, which studies have shown reduce LDL (the bad cholesterol).
We all could sleep a little better at night, so one way to do this is add pumpkin seeds to your bedtime snack. Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, the same amino acid that makes you tired after eating turkey.
Tryptophan will help you calm down, relax, and unwind so you get a better night’s sleep. Relaxing into sleep is a good way to sleep deeper, longer, and feel more rested when you wake up. You will start noticing the benefits of this the same night you start eating pumpkin or pumpkin seeds, which is a huge plus.
Improve Your Eyesight
Vitamin A is important to keeping your eyes sharp and just one cup of cubed pumpkin contains about twice the recommended daily intake of this vitamin. For example, those who have the degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, Vitamin A has been shown to slow down the disease process, according to Harvard researchers.
Beside eyesight, Vitamin A will keep your bones, skin, and teeth healthy. Pumpkins also have carotenoids, which your body will convert into Vitamin A for the ultimate body protection. The above foods are other sources of Vitamin A that you can mix with pumpkin to make a well-rounded or a delicious soup.
Feel Full and Lose Weight
Since pumpkins have a lot of fiber, about 1.7 grams per ounce, they are a good dietary aid to lose weight. A one cup serving of pumpkin only has 49 calories, so not only will it keep you full, it will keep your calorie count for the day down as well.
Studies have shown that people who eat a fiber-rich diet lose weight faster and easier than those who did not. Fiber keeps you feeling fuller for longer periods of time, which helps you cut down on snacking or overeating. Along with feeling full, fiber helps your digestive health, which can also keep your weight in check.
Keep Cancer Away
According to the National Cancer Institute, beta-carotene may play a role in preventing cancer. While they do not know exactly what causes cancer, research has shown a diet rich in beta-carotene is correlated with reducing the risk of multiple kinds of cancers. So what has a good amount of beta-carotene? You guessed it, pumpkins.
Eating pumpkin on a regular basis has been shown to be better than taking a supplement of beta-carotene. In addition, seeds of the pumpkin have been linked of keeping certain cancers away as well. Basically, pumpkins are great at fighting cancer so they should be part of your regular diet.
Improve Your Mood
Not only can tryptophan help you relax and sleep better, but it can improve your mood as well. Tryptophan helps create serotonin, which is an important compound in controlling our mood. Serotonin is located in the brain and decreased levels have been linked with depression.
Try eating a handful of pumpkin seeds every day for a few weeks so you can experience the mood benefits. Increasing your serotonin naturally can help you feel better and help fight depression. This is especially helpful if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Keep your diet rich in pumpkin to feel good all year round.
Protect Your Testicles
A study in Taiwan showed that pumpkin seed oil stopped the unhealthy growth of the prostate in male rats. The oil contains a lot of healthy nutrients, such as beta-carotene and zinc, which are crucial nutrients to male sexual health. Furthermore, these will help create healthy testosterone levels as well.
Pumpkin seeds by themselves have about 2.75mg of zinc per quarter cup. This can help men’s sexual health because if men do not get enough zinc, their testosterone may lower after 20 weeks. Low testosterone can bring a variety of problems with it, such as low sex drive, so it is important to keep the levels at a healthy number.
Protect Your Skin
Since pumpkin has a good amount of beta-carotene in it, it will also help protect your skin. Keep your skin healthy and glowing by eating a good amount of pumpkin all year round. Beta-carotene will protect your skin from the sun and help decrease the amount of damage UV rays will have.
The cartotenoids in the pumpkin will keep your skin looking young and wrinkle free. Dermatologist Kenneth Beer says “Pumpkin is filled with vitamins C,E, and A, as well as powerful enzymes that help to cleanse the skin.”
Eat Pumpkin After a Workout
Need to refuel after a workout? Eat some pumpkin. One cup of cooked pumpkin has 564 mg of potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte when it comes to helping your body recover properly. Furthermore, this aids your muscles in recovering because it is a necessary component for them to work as well.
Pumpkin Over Bananas
Bananas are known to be nature’s energy bar, but pumpkin actually has more potassium in them. Bananas have 422 mg where pumpkin has 564 mg so re-balance your electrolytes after working out with pumpkin. Take a pumpkin smoothie with you to the gym to drink after you are done with your workout.
Help Your Immune System
Does your immune system need a little boost? With everything thrown at it nowadays, all of our immune systems could use a little help from time to time. Vitamin C is vital to helping protect your immune system and pumpkins contains this nutrient.
Cook up some pumpkin, because just one cup contains over 11 mg of Vitamin C. This is 20 percent of the recommended daily value for women. There has been some question as to whether Vitamin C helps keep the common cold away. While there has been no solid evidence to support whether it can keep you from getting sick, Vitamin C can help you recover faster.
Low in Calories
Are you looking for something to fill you up without loading you up with calories? Pumpkin has 49 calories per one cup. Furthermore, pumpkin does not have any cholesterol or saturated fat. This makes it a very good snack or addition to your meals because of the vitamins, nutrients, and lack of calories.
Makes a Good Snack
Throughout the day, you may find yourself needing to munch on something to keep your energy up and want something that does not have a lot of calories. Pumpkin or pumpkin seeds are a good option for this. They will keep you full while providing a lot of nutrients.
Keep You Regular
Like most people, you may not get enough fiber to keep your digestive system in good shape, to keep you regular, or a combination of the two. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, you should have between 20 and 35 grams a day. Are you eating that much fiber? Chances are probably not, so add some with pumpkin.
Not only does fiber keep you regular, but it helps you digest your food more efficiently. This aids your body in absorbing the nutrients from the food you are eating, which is an important part of staying healthy. Get the most out of your foods by keeping your digestive system in good working order.
Keep lung cancer away by eating pumpkin on a regular basis. According to Michael T. Murray, who is the author of The Condense Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, pumpkin has the compounds to help stop lung disease.
Pumpkin puree is an easier way to eat it to help keep lung cancer away. The puree can be put into stew, soup, or chili. You can also use it to bake some muffins or bread. There are various ways to use it in your cooking to improve your health and keep away cancer.
Along with helping your prostate, pumpkin can improve your bladder health as well. Pumpkin seeds have been found to relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This condition causes the prostate to enlarge, which causes problems urinating. The condition can be extremely frustrating, painful, and may need surgical intervention if it gets too bad.
Improved Bladder Function
Studies have shown that people who eat pumpkin seeds on a regular basis showed a better quality of life and reduced the symptoms of BPH. This improved their urination and helped control their overactive bladder. So skip the surgery and eat more pumpkin.
Trying to get pregnant or want to make sure your little guys are high quality when you are ready to have a baby? Pumpkin seeds have lots of zinc, which improves sperm quality.
A study in mice found that pumpkin seeds help protect sperm from being damaged by autoimmune disease or chemotherapy. Furthermore, they help testosterone levels, which can also improve your overall sexual health. Be prepared by eating pumpkin year-round so you are ready to go when the time is right.
Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds
Now that we have covered the benefits of pumpkin, here are some recipes to get you started. Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds are simple to make and are perfect for fall weather. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together 3 tablespoon of butter, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds in the mixture and put them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly brown.
Get your daily dose of pumpkin while on the go with a pumpkin smoothie. Drink it in the morning or after a rigorous workout. Blend together 16 ounces of pumpkin puree, 2 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Blend until smooth and enjoy.
What better way to enjoy pumpkin than roasting it in the oven with applesauce?Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Mix together 2 cups of applesauce, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Put this mixture into four small sugar pumpkins, place then in a baking dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the pumpkins are tender.
Put 1 cup of rolled oats and 3/4 cup of milk in a bowl then cook for 1 to 2 minutes in microwave. Add milk as needed. Stir together 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar and add into the rolled oats.