Halloween is probably the first celebration invoked by the mention of pumpkins. On October 31, half of the world carves them and creates those scary glowing Jack-o-lanterns to decorate their yards and streets. But what are the benefits of eating pumpkins? While almost everyone is familiar with pumpkin carving, little in numbers are those aware of their high value in nutrition and incredible effect on the human body.
This is why we decided to make HD2020 (Halloween Diet 2020) and help you have a healthy and tasty holiday hoping that the new nutrition regime will become a part of your routine. But first, before we get into diet details, let us explain why pumpkins are so healthy to eat.
Why Are Pumpkins So Healthy to Eat?
As fiber-filled and low-carb fruit, pumpkins hold most of its health attributes in micronutrient content. They boost multiple functionalities of the human organism and lower the probability of certain diseases:
- Raise in the strength of the immune system.
- Enhance eye health.
- Improve skin.
- Improve heart work.
- Decrease the chance of developing metabolic syndrome.
Pumpkins Effect on the Immune System
As you already know, the immune system is a biological mechanism our organism uses to help repel and defeat all kinds of diseases. Medicine observes it as the first and the most important line of defense people have against viruses and infections. Even vaccines are made to make improvements to the immune system and make us untouchable for those little biological attackers such as Covid-19, SARS, etc…
Well, pumpkins can help too. They possess a hefty dose of beta-carotene. A certain amount of this carotene is converted into vitamin A. Its importance is related to everything: vision, skins, bones, etc… What makes vitamin A especially important is its ability to increase resistance to infections.
Pumpkin Vision – No More Apple Pie
Besides vitamin A, pumpkins are rich with E and C as well. When combined with beta-carotene, those vitamins provide a hand to retina helping it absorb light. Pumpkin compounds are grave enemies of macular degeneration. This eye disease is related to aging and usually prays on those older than 60. With its severe consequences, it is the leading cause of severe and permanent loss of vision or even complete blindness.
A study conducted over a group of people suffering from age-related macular degeneration showed that is progression can be slow by taking a supplement containing zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and copper. All of the mentioned nutrients can be found in pumpkins but in smaller amounts.
Halloween for Gentle Skin
Again, we have to call for beta-carotene and vitamin C and E due to their importance for skin health. It is not for nothing that so many sun creams that protect you against burns and damaging U.V. radiation have their names starting with beta-carotene.
This, of course, doesn’t mean you should squash pumpkins and smear them over your body when going to the beach. But eating them in the long term could very likely help you improve your skin texture.
Good for the Heart?
Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium found in pumpkins can have essential roles in improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels. According to scientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, around 500 mg of vitamin C taken on a daily basis is capable of producing small reductions of blood pressure.
This is because vitamin C can act as a diuretic and help you remove excess fluids from your body. This may help lower the pressure within your blood vessels.
A metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms related to abdominal obesity. As you might know, this includes high blood pressure, little to no blood sugar control, and elevated triglyceride levels. These factors raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes. With their low calories, pumpkins will launch your life in a completely opposite direction.
Halloween Diet – How to Properly Eat Pumpkins?
After learning why it is good to consume this fruit, the time has come to learn how to properly do it. Halloween diet is a very simple nutrition regime that can be adjusted even to not-so-disciplined beginners who want to modify their way of eating. This is due to the fact that the only requirement is to change one meal, preferably dinner, while the rest remains the same.
You can start by having a capacious dinner made of pumpkins. A hundred grams of pumpkin has only 26 calories. This means that with the right way of cooking which implies evading sugar overflow, you can make a tasty and abundant meal that will actually help you decrease your weight and fat.
Pumpkin After Gym Session
As it was already stated, pumpkins are rich in potassium. This makes it a perfect match for post-workout food which helps the recovery of the muscles. A 100-gm pumpkin contains 340 mg of potassium which is even more than bananas.
One of the benefits of eating pumpkins is that it is low in calories for weight loss and potassium for muscle recovery – these fruits really deserve everyone’s attention. Proceeding are recipes that will boost the efficiency of your pumpkin diet.
An important note is that in order for a food regime to work you must not overeat yourself with pumpkin pies and cakes as those specialties contain a lot of added sugar and will result in weight and fat gain as much as regular sweets do.
Here is a list of pumpkin food that will help you lose weight:
- Lentils, pumpkin, and cranberries soup is a perfect choice to start your lunch.
- Baked Pumpkin – you can increase its taste with red wine vinegar, thyme, chilies, and coriander.
- Spicy Pumpkin Hummus Recipe – with the goodness of roasted pumpkin, chickpeas, olive oil, and cumin, this hummus recipe is sure to spruce up your evening snack time.
- Pumpkin soup – pumpkin soup is the best choice for a meal if your goal is to lose weight.
- Pumpkin pie – don’t add too much sugar.
Important Note Regarding Pumpkins
Pumpkins are healthy and good to eat. There are almost no negative effects. However, these fruits are known to be a good diuretic. It is why consuming them can have a damaging impact if you use drugs like lithium.
If you use this drug, eating a lot of pumpkins would make it harder for your organism to clean itself. Another danger with pumpkins is pumpkin-flavored junk food. Pumpkin spice latte is a perfect example of what you should avoid.
While it certainly looks appealing this drink has no healthy elements and is no capable of providing any benefit except the pleasure of good taste. And when it comes to pumpkin pies and bread, if not prepared the right way, besides many additional vitamins, they are going to have a lot of sugar which, as you know, is not so healthy.
The sad conclusion is that the most of benefits pumpkins have can be gained through eating it like fruit rather than a desert.
Is Pumpkin a Fruit or a Vegetable?
You might have considered pumpkins to be a vegetable. However, according to botanists, it is fruit. This is because pumpkins are a product of the seed-bearing structure of flowering plants. Vegetables, on the other hand, are the edible portion of plants such as leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, flowers, and tubers. Pumpkin fruits are a type of botanical berry known as a pepo.