In the study, researchers from Birjand University of Medical Sciences in Iran examined the anti-obesity effects of pumpkin in obese mice. Pumpkin is known to be rich in powerful antioxidants, and it contains lipid-lowering and anti-diabetes properties.
For the study, the researchers randomly divided 30 adult mice into five groups: a healthy control group, an obese control group, and three experimental groups with obese mice that received pumpkin extract once a day at doses of 100 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), 200 mg/kg, and 400 mg/kg, respectively. Obesity was induced by feeding mice a high-fat diet. Meanwhile, the treatment with pumpkin extract went on for a period of six weeks. After the treatment period, the researchers measured the lipid profile, lipoprotein levels, liver enzymes, and oxidative stress status of the mice.
Based on the results, the mice groups that received the pumpkin extract showed significant reductions in their triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol. At the same time, the pumpkin extract greatly increased their high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol. In addition, the pumpkin extract increased glutathione level of the treatment groups compared to the obese control group. The effects of the pumpkin treatment were dose-dependent.
Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that pumpkin can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in obese individuals by reducing oxidative stress and improving cholesterol levels.
Nonetheless, the study does not indicate that it is okay to be obese as long as you eat a lot of pumpkins. Remember that obesity is also a risk factor for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers. The key to achieving and keeping a healthy weight is through practicing a healthy lifestyle that involves eating healthily and having regular physical activity. (Related: Obesity? Heart Disease? Diabetes? Cancer? Maybe it’s not your genes–it’s your lifestyle.)
Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that is native to North America, where it is particularly popular during Thanksgiving and Halloween. Here are more reasons to eat pumpkin:
Incorporating pumpkin to your diet is relatively easy because of its delicious sweet flavor and versatility. It can be roasted, pureed into soup, or baked into pies, custards, and pancakes. Its seeds are also edible and packed with nutrients.
Read more news stories and studies on natural ways to prevent heart disease by going to HeartDisease.news.