It’s pumpkin season in Kansas City! We’re caught up in a sea of wonderful pumpkin pancakes, donuts, bagels, muffins, beer, lattes, and (of course) pie.
Do you love the flavor of pumpkin in the fall, but are hesitant to enjoy all those wonderful pumpkin treats? Then you’ll be happy to know there are a lot of health benefits to eating pumpkin. Here are some examples:
- Weight loss. Pumpkin has a lot of fiber, which tends to make you eat less and stay full longer. Without all the added sugar of some of the sweeter pumpkin treats, it’s also low in calories (less than 50 per serving).
- Improved eyesight. There’s a lot of Vitamin A in pumpkin, which is really good for your eyesight. It can even improve your night vision. A half a cup is all you need each day to help keep your eyes sharp. There are also some antioxidants in pumpkin that may prevent cataracts and delay the progression of macular degeneration.
- Healthier skin. Pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which helps prevent wrinkles.
- Fewer illnesses. The Vitamin A in pumpkin can improve your immune system. Pumpkin also contains Vitamin C. So adding it to your diet can help prevent colds, the flu, and other types of illnesses.
- Improved sleep. Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds! They contain tryptophan, zinc, and magnesium, all of which can help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Lower risk of cancer. Vitamins A and C and beta-carotene are all antioxidants (substances that fight off cancer-causing free radicals). Beta-carotene may also be particularly useful in preventing lung and prostate cancer.
- Improved diabetes management. Some early studies have shown that pumpkin may be good for managing your diabetes by reducing blood glucose levels, improving glucose tolerance, and increasing insulin production. It’s too early to say whether or not adding pumpkin to your diet will help your diabetes in the long run. But with all the other health benefits of pumpkin, why not go ahead and enjoy?