Pumpkin is called “The King of Squash“, and this King is a free-radical scavenger that is the source of eye-protecting carotenoids, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha-carotene.
Did you know that lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the lenses of your eyes? Studies show that eating foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin, packed within pumpkins, can help prevent cataracts.
Pumpkins typically spend more time on your front porch than in your kitchen, but they are a very healthy squash that is very good for you. So bring it indoors, and throw it in the oven.
The Vitamins In Pumpkin
Pumpkin is loaded in beta-carotene, which not only helps humans, but protects the pumpkin from its own diseases.
Beta-carotene has been shown in many research studies to prevent:
- heart disease
Pumpkin contains the healthy nutrients:
- healthy fats
If you are worried about macular degeneration, blurred vision, or cataracts, start eating more pumpkin. Researchers found that the carotenoids in pumpkin and in other carotenoid-rich foods, like carrots, slowed the disease progression.
One of the most popular things about pumpkins are its seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are full of fiber, zinc, and iron. Limit the number you eat, though, because they are high in fat.
Pumpkin seed oil is good for prostate health, nonetheless, and the zinc and the oils inside the seeds are big players. The oils slow the over-growth of prostate cells fueled by testosterone. The carotenoids and the fats in pumpkin seeds help slow the risk of benign prostate hyperplasia (BHP) in men over 50 years of age.
Try adding pumpkin seeds to your diet if you are worried about your prostate.
Pumpkin Seed Snacks
Collect the seeds from cutting a fresh pumpkin. Clean the flesh off the seeds, and let them sit in open-air overnight on a baking pan lined with paper towels. The next day, remove the paper towels, and place the seeds on a baking sheet. Roast on low heat, around 200 degrees F, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned.
Season to your preference with garlic, cinnamon, salt … sweet or sour – use anything that you like the best.
I am not a fan of canned vegetables, but canned pumpkin is a good alternative to fresh because it retains its essential elements pretty well, and is almost equal to fresh.
If fresh pumpkin is too potent for your taste buds, temper it down with orange juice. Add about a tablespoon of juice to the pumpkin when cooking it.
Can you eat a whole pumpkin at one time? Most people can’t, so pumpkin can be frozen. Simply put your left over pumpkin into a freezer container of choice, and it should hold its nutrients pretty well.
- Cut your pumpkin in half, or into quarters if it’s a big pumpkin;
- Scoop out the seeds;
- Place the pieces cut side down onto a baking pan;
- Sprinkle with some water;
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender;
If using your fresh pumpkin for a pie or in a soup, remove the skin after it has been baked and softened. Simply scoop the flesh away from the skin after cooking, and puree.
Pick Your Perfect Pumpkin
Buy a smaller pumpkin, about the size of an acorn squash. Buy a heavy pumpkin with bright color and thick skin. When preparing the pumpkin, leave the skin on when cutting it into pieces.
Roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, and when it cools, scoop the flesh from the rind.
Mash it (put it in the food processor), and store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Pumpkin stays good in the freezer for at least 6 months.
As the holiday season draws near, add more pumpkin to your shopping list.
What better way to eat your vitamins AND enjoy a front porch holiday decoration?
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. The FDA may not have evaluated some of the statements. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding supplements or making any changes to your dietary program.
Before taking vitamins, consult your doctor; pre-existing medical conditions or medications you are taking can affect how your body responds to multivitamins.