Pumpkin can be described as a large rounded orange-yellow fruit with a thick rind, edible flesh, and many seeds. Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use and are used both for food and recreation. Pumpkin pie comes to mind when thinking of the fruit and the carving of pumpkins as jack-o’-lanterns for decoration around Halloween. Here Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD, HealthLine.com, reflects on pumpkin nutrition, benefits, and how to eat them:
“Pumpkin is a favorite autumn ingredient. But is it healthy?
As it turns out, pumpkin is very nutritious and low in calories. Plus, it’s more versatile than you may know. It can be cooked into savory dishes, as well as sweet ones.
This article reviews the nutritional properties of pumpkin and its various uses and benefits.
What is Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that’s in the same plant family as cucumbers and melons.
It’s technically a fruit since it contains seeds. But in terms of nutrition, it’s more like a vegetable.
Pumpkins are usually round and orange, although the size, shape and color can vary depending on the variety. They have a thick outer rind that’s smooth and ribbed, as well as a stem that connects the pumpkin to its leafy plant.
Inside they are hollow, except for ivory-colored seeds coated with stringy flesh.
These squash are native to North America and play a big role in two holidays. They are carved into jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween and cooked into pies for Thanksgiving dessert in the US and Canada.
However, they’re also grown around the world in every continent except Antarctica.
Their seeds, leaves and flesh are all edible, and they feature in recipes from global cuisines.
There are many different varieties of pumpkins, including:
- Jack-o’-lantern: Usually a large variety that’s used for carving.
- Pie pumpkins: A smaller, sweeter variety.
- Miniature: These are both decorative and edible.
- White: Some can be cooked with, while others are better for decoration or carving.
- Giant: Mostly grown for contests. Technically edible, but less flavorful than smaller varieties.
Most of the pumpkin that’s sold in the US is canned.
Interestingly, the variety of pumpkin that’s most typically canned looks more similar to a butternut squash than a jack-o’-lantern.
The distinction between pumpkin and other types of squash can be a bit fuzzy, as there are many different but closely related varieties.
Pumpkin is an incredibly nutritious food.
It is nutrient-dense, meaning it has lots of vitamins and minerals and relatively few calories.
One cup of cooked pumpkin provides (1):
- Calories: 49
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin K: 49% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Copper, manganese and riboflavin: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
- Iron: 8% of the RDI
- Folate: 6% of the RDI
- Niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and thiamin: 5% of the RDI
It’s also exceptionally high in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.
Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid that turns into vitamin A in the body.
Major Health Benefits
Most of a pumpkin’s health benefits come from its micronutrient content and the fact that it’s a fiber-filled, low-carb fruit.
While there aren’t many studies on pumpkin specifically, it is high in several nutrients that have established health benefits.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin-nutrition-review#section4
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