The fall season is upon us, which means the return of Jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie and Charlie Brown. While a majority of pumpkin-flavored treats contain artificial pumpkin spice flavoring and are high in sugar, pumpkin itself is one of the healthier fall flavors. Here are some of the many health benefits of this season’s superfood.
- Lose Weight
Pumpkin is very high in fiber, which helps keep you feeling full longer throughout the day. Adding pumpkin to your diet this fall will help control your appetite and eat less.
- Look Younger
Pumpkins are packed with vitamin A, which prevents aging by increasing your production of collagen making your skin smooth and glowing this fall. Also, pumpkins contain beta-carotene, which helps protect skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays that cause our skin to wrinkle and age prematurely.
- Sharpen Your Vision
These orange gourds get their coloring from their abundant supply of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for your optical health, as it helps the retina absorb and process light. Pumpkins also contain antioxidants that are believed to help slow the decline of retinal function and prevent cataracts.
- Increase Your Immunity
Pumpkins are great sources of daily vitamins, which helps your body fight infections, viruses and even diseases. If you do happen to come down with a cold this season, the abundance of vitamin C found in pumpkin can help you recover sooner.
- Sleep Better
The seeds of pumpkins contain high traces of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the body produce serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that helps you relax and unwind after a long day. Pumpkin seeds can help you get a better night’s sleep and even improve your overall mood.
- Protect Your Heart and Lower Your Risk of Cancer
Pumpkin’s high source of fiber can help prevent the risk of coronary heart disease among both men and women. Adding beta-carotene to your diet can help lower your risk of lung and prostate cancer. Both vitamins A and C are antioxidants, which shields your cells against carcinogens.
As you can see, pumpkins not only taste great, but also are also great for you. Try experimenting and adding pumpkin to your diet in a variety of ways this fall season. Have fun with this sweet and savory squash. Add pureed pumpkin to your breakfast smoothie or waffle batter, sprinkle pumpkin seeds on your salad, or even add pumpkin to your next batch of chili. The healthy options are endless with this fall favorite!