(NaturalNews) An indigenous vegetable native to North America, pumpkins not only play a roll as jack-o-lanterns on Halloween and fillings for Thanksgiving pies -- they also provide a wide range of healthy benefits, making them a perfect food to incorporate into your daily diet.
Fiber: One cup of pumpkin contains seven grams of dietary fiber, providing the body with an excellent means to aid digestion, improve bowel function, relieve both constipation and diarrhea, lower LDL cholesterol levels, and help with weight loss.
Low calories: One cup of pumpkin contains 50 calories and one gram of fat. So combined with it's high fiber content, it's the perfect food to include in any weight loss program. Just bake some in the oven and sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia for a delicious addition to any meal.
Antioxidants: Beta-carotene and alpha-carotene protect the eyes, prevent macular degeneration, strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent cataract formation and aid in prevention of cancer. Pumpkin also contains zeaxanthin and lutein, both antioxidants that support good vision.
Vitamins: Pumpkins contain high levels of vitamin A, which is used to maintain skin, vision, immune function, healing, fetal development and bone health. Additionally, they have high levels of vitamins B, C, E and K, which helps with blood coagulation and provides protection against osteoporosis.
Minerals: One cup of pumpkin provides more potassium than you get from a banana. The body uses potassium to regulate fluids and control blood pressure and heart rhythm. Pumpkins also supply calcium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.
The seeds from the inside of the pumpkin are the best part of the pumpkin, according to some folks. Nutty and flavorful, they are chock full of nutrition, and best when harvested directly from your Jack-o-lantern during carving. Loaded with minerals, pumpkin seeds supply numerous health benefits.
· Pumpkin seeds are high in a wide range of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper and iron · Pumpkin seed oil promotes prostate gland health · High in zinc, pumpkin seeds also help build and strengthen bones for both, older men and women, preventing osteoporosis · Consuming pumpkin seeds supplies the body with potent, anti-inflammatory agents that compare to NSAIDs in preventing arthritic pain in the joints · Beneficial substances called phytosterols help lower LDL cholesterol. Other seeds rich in phytosterols are sunflower and pistachio nuts. · Pumpkin seeds are a great source for protein and essential fatty acids
Pumpkin for pets
Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber that is useful for helping your dog or cat who may experience constipation or diarrhea. Depending on the size and weight of the animal, adding a small amount of pumpkin pulp to their meals will help keep their bowels regular.
Additionally, pumpkin pulp can be added to a dog's food to help control obesity. Use canned, organic pumpkin without additives. Check with your vet regarding quantity.
JB Bardot is an herbalist and a classical homeopath, and has a post graduate degree in holistic nutrition. Bardot cares for both people and animals, using alternative approaches to health care and lifestyle. She writes about wellness, green living, alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and naturopathic medicine. You can find her at The JB Bardot Archives at www.jbbardot.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jbbardot23 or on Twitter at jbbardot23 or https://twitter.com/jbbardot23