Pumpkin is one of the well-known ingredients in our kitchens, used in a number of ways and recipes with varied cuisines. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, pumpkins are incredibly healthy. What’s more, its low-calorie content makes it a weight-loss-friendly food. Its nutrients and antioxidants may boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health. The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word, ‘pepon‘, which means a “large melon”. Pumpkins originated in Central America. These are actually a fruit. Pumpkin is also a squash; a member of the Cucurbita family. The yellow-orange flowers that bloom on the pumpkin vine are edible.
With the longer nights of fall, pumpkins on the vine gradually slow down and stop their production of chlorophyll. This green pigment, necessary for photosynthesis, degrades and the carotenoids are revealed, causing the pumpkin to change its colour to shades of orange, red and yellow. Like other fruits and vegetables, a lot of the nutrients can be found concentrated in the skin itself, which is why it’s so beneficial. The flesh is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives fruits and veggies their orange pigment, which works to give you healthy skin and reduce the risk of some diseases. Butternut squash contains slightly more vitamin A and C compared to pumpkin and twice as much iron.
It’s also a good source of magnesium, vitamin E and potassium. Compared to pumpkin, it’s higher in calories and complex carbs and contains more than twice the amount of dietary fibre. Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals like manganese and vitamin K, both of which are important in helping wounds heal. They also contain zinc, a mineral that helps the immune system fight bacteria and viruses. Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of Phosphorus.
Let us highlight a few more benefits of our Promising Pumpkin:
- Pumpkin is a good immunity booster : Looking for a way to ward off illness and improve your immune system? Try pumpkin. The large shot of vitamin The fruit helps your body fight infections, viruses and infectious diseases. Pumpkin oil even helps fight various bacterial and fungal infections. Plus, pumpkin is packed with nearly 20 percent of the recommended amount of daily Vitamin C which may help you recover from colds faster.
- Pumpkins help having better skin: Eating pumpkin can help you look younger (beta-carotene in pumpkin helps protect us from the sun’s wrinkle-causing UV rays), but the pulp also makes a great, all-natural face mask that exfoliates and soothes. All you need is 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie), an egg, a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of milk. Mix, then apply it, wait for 20 minutes or so and wash it off with warm water.
- Pumpkin is great for weight loss: Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion. “Pumpkin keeps you feeling fuller longer, “Pumpkin may be filling, but it’s also a low-calorie superstar. “Canned pumpkin is nearly 90 percent water” so besides the fact that it helps keep you hydrated, it has fewer than 50 calories per serving. Therefore, it’s an ideal ingredient to add to your weight loss diet plans, have it in the form of soups, salads, stir fries, baked dishes etc.
- Pumpkin is great for the eyes: Brilliant orange colorings come from its ample supply of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. A single cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health. Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cataracts and may even slow the development of macular degeneration.
Here are a few easy to fix recipes with the Healthy Pumpkin:
Recipe-1] HERBED PUMPKIN PASTA
Recipe-2] PEPPERY PUMPKIN SHORBA
Recipe-3] OVEN ROASTED PUMPKIN SALAD
Recipe- 4] COCONUT PUMPKIN AND CHICKEN CURRY
Recipe-5] SPICED CURRIED PUMPKIN
Recipe-6] KESARI PUMPKIN KA MEETHA
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.