Is Pumpkin (bhopla, lauki) healthy?
Pumpkin is a type of winter squash most commonly termed as bhopla by the vegetable vendors in the Indian market. While in western countries it’s typical an autumn experience, in India it’s available throughout the year. This nutrient rich flesh vegetable can improve your skin, cell health, immunity, eyesight, weight and so on…. It has a very interesting nutrient profile. Let’s study it in detail.
Pumpkin offers 7 major health benefits
Yes, Pumpkin is one of the Super foods one must add to their diet
1. Can Pumpkin Aid in Weight Loss?
Pumpkin is an ingredient which has a super decent major nutrient profile. Despite being high in nutrients, it is low in calories (31 calories per cup), carbs (5.7 g per cup) and fat (1.75 g per cup) and should not be missed out by anyone who aims to maintain or lose weight. Though it’s not a wholesome source of fiber, you can take advantage of the other nutrients in this profile. Enjoy this mildly sweet vegetable sliced, roasted, grilled or in the forma a subzi. Want to try something new and exotic with Pumpkin? We have a healthy breakfast option for you – Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats
2. Can Pumpkin Improve Eyesight?
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, protein and other antioxidants are key nutrients that work towards keeping your eyesight keen as you age. A basketful of fruits and vegetables are always by most dietitians to make up for these nutrients. Pumpkin is also one amongst them, which is rich in 3 of these nutrients. A cup of pumpkin cubes fulfils your day’s requirement of vitamin A (5526 mcg), thus making it a super food for your eyes. Vitamin A activates the pigment rhodopsin which is a prerequisite to focus and view objects. Second nutrient is vitamin C. A cup of pumpkin cubes offers around 6% for your days needs of vitamin C, which helps to build the collagen in the cornea of eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are other antioxidants it abounds in additionally which prevents age related cataracts and macular degeneration of the eyes.
3. Can Pumpkin Manage Diabetes?
Well, if we consider the glycemic index scale of pumpkin, it’s a No-No, as it has a count of 75 which falls under high glycemic food category. However, it has a glycemic load of just 3, which is categorized under the low category. Hence pumpkin may or may not control blood help manage diabetes, but it can be included in safe amounts by diabetics. If you are fond of pumpkin, simply ensure you take your stand on the portion size and have it occasionally by way of healthy subzis and soups. Also bear in mind not to include any other high carb food with it. Instead pair it with a high fiber or protein rich food. You can try Pumpkin Soup or Pumpkin Oven Baked Fries as a healthy snack alternative.
4. Can Pumpkin Reduce Cancer Risk?
The magical combo of antioxidants and vitamins A and C discussed till now also create a shield against cancer cells. They reduce the oxidative stress of free radicals and help to keep our body cells healthy, thus reducing the chances of cancer. If you are by any chance under the agonizing pain of cancer already, then to addition of pumpkin to your diet will build your immune cells and help fight against it. You can try using pumpkin in its simplest way by grilling it. Here’s the recipe of Grilled Pumpkin specially researched for all the health freaks. One other way to fight cancer would be the inclusion of pumpkin seeds. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. They help reduce inflammation and build your body’s defense line.
5. Can Pumpkin Promote Wound Healing?
Wounds heal faster when you provide a constant source of vitamin C, E and K. The fairly good proportion of vitamin C present in pumpkin will help you build your vitamin C reserves which will help your immune cells work effectively to heal wounds.
6. Can Pumpkin Offer Heart Health?
Low fat and high antioxidant level all have always been associated with healthy heart. The antioxidants help reducing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from oxidizing and clogging the blood vessels, which if persists would increase the risk of heart disease. Also the low sodium (7 mg / cup) and high potassium count (241.2 mg / cup) have emerged as a means to manage blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of strokes.
7. Can Pumpkin Give You a Flawless Skin?
The answer is a big YES! Vitamin A and vitamin C are anti-aging antioxidants which increase the production of collagen in the skin and give it a soft and supple feel. They jump up your skin’s cell renewal process and bestow a splendid glow to your skin. Try having a tbsp of pumpkin seeds also along with including it as a vegetable to your diet. They will provide you with the healthy fat and omega 3 fatty acids which will help you deal with a whole range of skin conditions like acne to wrinkles.
Nutritional Value of Pumpkin
1 cup of pumpkin cubes is about 125 g
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy - 31 calories
Protein – 1.75 g
Carbohydrate – 5.75 g
Fat – 0.1 g
Fiber – 0.8 g
See nutritional details of red pumpkin in pumpkin glossary.
7 Best Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin
1. Pumpkin Soup
2. Pumpkin Pachadi
3. Pumpkin Subzi
4. Grilled Pumpkin
5. Smoked Pumpkin Dip
6. Pumpkin Paratha
7. Baked Pumpkin Fries
7 Pumpkin Recipes Best Avoided
1 Pumpkin Pakora
2. Gulgule, a Maharashtrian Sweet
3. Cheesy Pumpkin Risotto
4. Pumpkin Subzis with Fried Koftas
5. Sweetened Pumpkin Pancakes
6. Pumpkin Pie
7. Pumpkin Cheesecake