Pumpkin has a range of fantastic benefits, including being one of the best-known sources of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color. The body converts any ingested beta carotene into vitamin A.
Consuming foods with high volumes of beta carotene may have the following benefits (among others):
- reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
- Increasing daily fiber intake
Reducing the risk of cancer
A 2016 study suggests a positive relationship between a diet rich in beta carotene and tumor suppression in prostate cancer.
The results of a 2014 cross-sectional study also show that beta carotene slowed the development of colon cancer in a Japanese population.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central database, 1 cup or 245 grams (g) of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin, without salt, contains:
- 1.76 g of protein
- 2.7 g of fiber
- 49 calories (kcal)
- 0.17 g of fat
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 12 g of carbohydrate
Pumpkin also provides a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including:
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
- vitamin B-6
- pantothenic acid
Pumpkins are a fantastic source of fiber. Fiber slows the rate of sugar absorption into the blood, promotes regular bowel movements, and smooths digestion. With nearly 3 g of fiber in I cup of cooked, fresh pumpkin, and more than 7 g in canned pumpkin, adding pumpkin to a daily diet can help a person increase their fiber intake.
There are many ways people can eat more pumpkin. Preparing fresh pumpkin at home will deliver the most benefits for health, but canned pumpkin is also a great choice. Pumpkin retains many of its health benefits in the canning process. However, when buying canned pumpkin read your labels, look for a can without BPA in the lining and with no added sugars and syrups. Canned pumpkin should have only one ingredient, pumpkin.