Pumpkin is a winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. This North American native vegetable is trendy for Thanksgiving and Halloween. It is commonly considered a vegetable, but it is scientifically a fruit because it contains seeds. Nutritionally it is similar to vegetables than fruits.
The pulp is used as a table vegetable, and in pies and soups, the seeds are popular snacks, and pumpkin seed oil is used for cooking and as a salad dressing. Also, pumpkin pie is a popular dish and is evitable in the menu for Thanksgiving in Canada and the US.
This food product is a rich vitamin A source and provides substantial fiber, niacin, and lutein (an important antioxidant). The seeds of this vegetable are also very beneficial for health. They are a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins and are even said to lower cholesterol.
Commonly Known as
Nutritional Profile of Pumpkin
Nutritional profile per 100 gms
- Calories: 26
- Protein: 1g
- Carbohydrate: 7g
- Fiber: 500mg
- Fat: 100mg
- Sodium: 1mg
- Potassium: 340mg
Source: USDA & Google
Antioxidants help reduce chronic diseases as they are compounds that protect your cells against damage by free radicals and oxidative stress. Pumpkin has good antioxidant properties because it contains the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and others.
May Increase Immunity
Pumpkins are loaded with lots of vitamins, especially vitamin A that is good for eyesight. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, too, that boosts the body’s immune system. It provides vitamin E, iron, and folate that may strengthen your immunity as well.
May Help in Weight Loss
Pumpkin is highly nutritious yet low on carbs, which helps in reducing weight. It’s also a good source of fiber, which may suppress your appetite. It also makes you feel full, and so you are likely to eat less. Thus it lowers your food intake and helps you reduce your weight.
Lowers Risk of Cancer
Since pumpkin contains antioxidant properties and has several antioxidant compounds, the antioxidants protect from free radicals and cell damage. They contain carotenoids that lower risks of stomach, throat, pancreas, and breast cancers.
Heals your Heart
Pumpkin is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Moreover, it lowers the level of bad cholesterol in your blood. All these contribute to improving the health of your heart. Hence, it is useful to add to your diet.
In general, pumpkin is a healthy and nutritious vegetable to consume. However, problems can arise with the consumption of the seeds. The shell of the seeds contains a fiber that is hard to dissolve. It can cause digestive issues.
Besides, the seeds have high-calorie content. Therefore, consuming them in more quantity can also risk weight gain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we eat raw pumpkin?
Yes, one can eat raw pumpkin. The best way to eat it is to cut into cubes.
Which part of the pumpkin is edible?
Except for its stalk or outer shell, the whole pumpkin is edible and safe to eat. The seeds of pumpkin are edible as well. The other use of pumpkin seeds is to generate oil.
How to soften pumpkin for cutting?
Microwave your pumpkin until the skin can be sliced easily. Once it is soft, slice it in halves or two-thirds. Then the inner part can be cut into cubes.
Is pumpkin poisonous?
The plant family includes squash, pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers, melons, and gourds containing the toxins called Cucurbitacins in high amounts.