What is Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is widely known for its high nutrient content.
Apart from being rich in vitamins, pumpkin is also rich in minerals and other essential nutrients required by our bodies for normal functioning. Though pumpkins are rich in vitamins and minerals, they have a low-calorie content.
Pumpkin leaves, juices and seeds all contain a powerful pack of nutrients ideal for the human body.
There are numerous ways that we can incorporate pumpkins into desserts, salads, soups, and preserves.
Pumpkin Fruit Uses
Moreover, did you know that pumpkin can be used as a substitute for butter?
Due to its high nutrient content, pumpkin has a wide range of health benefits.
Being one of the best sources of beta-carotene, pumpkins serve as antioxidants.
Apart from being a powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene also gives pumpkins its orange and vibrant color.
The human body immediately converts any ingested beta-carotene into vitamin A.
Consumption of foods that are rich in betacarotene aid in the reduction of the risks involved with specific types of cancer, heart disease, and asthma. Moreover, it also aids in the decrease in body degeneration and aging.
Pumpkin-related studies conducted by different institutions, suggests that consumption of plants such as pumpkins minimizes the risk of obesity and mortality as well.
Pumpkins can also aid in the prevention of heart-related disorders, diabetes and promote healthy hair and complexion, healthful BMI and increased energy.
Pumpkins also happen to be an excellent source of fiber.
With that said, here are some of the health benefits demonstrated by pumpkins.
Pumpkin Helps with Regulation of Blood Pressure
Consumption of pumpkin is high for the human heart.
The potassium, fiber and vitamin C, contained in pumpkin support excellent health.
Many studies suggest that use of a specific amount of potassium can have the same effect as decreasing one’s intake of sodium while treating high-blood pressure or hypertension.
Intake of potassium on a regular basis is associated with protection against the loss of muscle mass, preservation of the mineral density of the bones as well as a reduced risk of developing stroke.
Pumpkin Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Research has also indicated that there is a positive relationship between a reduced risk of cancer and a diet high in potassium.
Beta Carotene is also popularly known for its ability to hold back the development of colon cancer especially among the Japanese population, where consumption of pumpkin was high.
According to the studies, there was a significant inverse in the association between higher concentrations of plasma lycopene and a lower risk of prostate cancer.
The high content of vitamins, antioxidants, and beta-carotene in pumpkins have been proven to prevent degenerative damage and support eye health.
Another study conducted on older African American women indicated that consumption of two or three fruits per meal reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Moreover, the inclusion of two or three grains per serving also led to a much slower progression of macular degeneration.
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Pumpkin Fights Diabetes
Pumpkins play a crucial role in controlling diabetes.
The compounds found in the pumpkin leaves and fruits are beneficial to the human body mainly because they aid in the absorption of glucose from the intestines into the tissues and also balancing the levels of liver glucose.
Though there are specific studies which indicate that pumpkins aid in the prevention of Diabetes-2, this effect is yet to be consistently demonstrated.
Nonetheless, the compounds contained in pumpkins have a particular impact such that researchers have indicated that they could be used in the development of anti-diabetic medication.
Pumpkin Daily Fibre Content
Considering they are a type of vegetables, pumpkins are widely known for their high fiber content.
Studies indicate that US residents do not consume enough fiber, with the average intake being just below 15g.
According to nutritionists, the recommended fiber intake per day is between 25g and 30g.
Fibre reduces the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, promotes bowel movement and also smoothen the digestion process.
Regular intake of fiber can also reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. With approximately 3 grams of fiber within cooked meals and about 7 grams in canned pumpkins, incorporating pumpkins into our daily diets can aid in the supplementation of fiber shortage in the foods of an average American.
Pumpkin Boosts Immune Health
Another health benefits of pumpkins are the protection of immunity. Pumpkin seeds and pulps have high beta-carotene and Vitamin C content. These two offer a boost to one’s immune system by making use of a powerful nutrient combination.
As the body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A, the process triggers the creation of white blood cells, which fight infections.
Pumpkins also happen to be an excellent source of manganese, riboflavin and folic acid, which are all essential for a functioning and healthy immune system.
Pumpkin Reduces Inflammation
Foods supplemented with pumpkins have been found to be an excellent source of anti-inflammatory substances.
Moreover, they also aid in the treatment of various disorders such as arthritis.
The main reason why pumpkins reduce inflammation and fight arthritis is that they contain natural antioxidants.
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Pumpkin Helps Improved Vision and Weight Loss
One cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin contains more than 100 percent of our recommended intake of Vitamin A, which plays a crucial role in improving our vision, especially in dim light.
Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, which is converted by our bodies into Vitamin A.
Also, chemical components found in the pumpkin minimize the risk of developing cataracts and any other optical issues.
As an overlooked source of fiber, pumpkins can keep us feeling full for much longer.
A diet rich in fiber aids us in eating less, and in the process shedding off a few extra pounds.
For weight loss purposes, you can snack on the toasted pumpkin seeds. In case you are craving for something a little bit sweeter, then you can sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon onto your pumpkin.
Moreover, you can also find an interesting way of sneaking pumpkins into your diets, such as in a smoothie or pumpkin muffins.
Pumpkin Improves Sleep Quality
Considering pumpkins have a high tryptophan content, they can act as sleep stimulants.
Tryptophan can produce serotonin, which is essential in relaxing and calming us and thus aids us in falling asleep.
Many experts attribute this to be the main reason why many people tend to fall asleep immediately after a massive Thanksgiving feast.
Pumpkin Tackles Convulsions
Convulsion is a disorder which can be easily described as a violent, sudden and irregular movement of the body, caused mainly by the sudden contraction of muscles.
The sudden involuntary contraction of muscles is usually associated with brain-related disorders such as epilepsy, fever in children and the presence of toxins or harmful agents within the blood.
Convulsion is something that one should never experience mainly because it can be quite terrible.
Alternative medical practitioners have used pumpkin leaves for quite a long time to prevent the disorder for many years.
Pumpkin leaves are sliced into smaller pieces and then mixed with salt and coconut water and then stored in a bottle until there is a need for the drink.
Pumpkin Improves the Men’s Sexual Health
According to a recent study, the smelling of pumpkin pie can quickly set one in the mood for a little action beneath the sheets.
Additionally, a link has been established between the consumption of pumpkin seeds, increased sexual desires and a rise in the testosterone levels.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which makes them extremely useful in eliminating erectile dysfunction.
Pumpkin also plays a crucial role in improving sperm quality.
Just like erectile dysfunction, infertility is linked to low zinc levels within a man’s body.
Luckily, enough, pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc content and are a great addition to our daily portions.
To ensure that we are consuming the right amount of pumpkin seeds, we are advised to make our very own trail mix.
Trail mix is an ideal snack to take to work mainly because it aids in fueling our bodies and mind as well.
Moreover, we can also incorporate pumpkin seeds into our favorite muffin or bread recipe with much ease.
If you need a much simpler method, then we can try out pumpkin roasted seeds with garlic, lemon, and cayenne.
Pumpkin is Great for Expectant Mothers
Women who are having their first pregnancy have probably gone through every article on the internet that focuses on pregnancy, mainly what to consume and what not to.
Pumpkin and its seeds as well are highly beneficial to expectant mothers primarily because they protect both the baby and the mother.
Rich in Vitamin A, Zinc, protein and other minerals, pumpkin and its seeds can support the needs of the mother as well as the fetus.
Moreover, because pumpkin has a high fiber content, it will play a vital role in the minimization of constipation, which is one of the common symptoms of pregnancy.
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Pumpkin Boosts Magnesium Consumption
According to a research conducted recently by a renowned University, more than 80 percent of Americans are not receiving enough magnesium from their daily meals.
Magnesium is a mineral used by all body organs, therefore essential for the human body.
Though magnesium plays a critical role in heart health and bone health as well, magnesium is also found in approximately 300 enzymes.
Apart from the fact that magnesium produces the energy required to activate muscles and nerves, it also has several other essential functions in the human body.
When we consume one ounce of pumpkin seeds, we benefit from approximately 40 percent of our recommended daily intake.
Because deficiency can lead to some health-related problems such as anxiety disorders and osteoporosis, pumpkin seeds are a straightforward and effective way to ensure that we are getting more than the required amount of magnesium.
Pumpkin Improves the Health of Women After Menopause
Women who are about to approach menopause or are already in menopause can now breathe a sigh of relief.
Pumpkin seed oil has been found to reduce postmenopausal signs including hot flashes, headaches, as well as joint pains.
Pumpkins are incredibly versatile, and thus we can make desserts, energy bars, smoothies, curries and so much more while improving our health.
Pumpkin Helps Boosts Our Overall Mood
If the thought of eating a pumpkin pie keeps you in a great mood, then here is what you should know.
Consumption of pumpkin does a great job of improving our overall climate. Pumpkin seeds contain a high level of tryptophan, an amino acid which is one of the building blocks for the neurotransmitter, serotonin.
According to recent research, a deficiency in serotonin can quickly contribute to depression and anxiety.
Pumpkin Protects Our Prostates
The use of pumpkin seeds to treat enlarged urinary tracts and or prostate is an old technique that has been in use for such a long time.
From the look of things, this old remedy is now coming back.
Because more than half of American men above the age of 50 suffer from issues which relate to enlarged prostate, it is highly advisable to protect yourself, when you are still young. Phytosterols in pumpkins are believed to have the ability to shrink the prostate.
Additionally, pumpkin seeds also offer chemicals which prevent the body from converting testosterone into DHT, a type of hormone commonly associated with an enlarged prostate.
Pumpkin is a Source of Healthy Fats
Pumpkins from our pumpkin patch are an excellent source of healthy fats. It is important to note that fats are not our enemy.
We are currently living in a society where zero or low fats foods are in high demand and are being sold at every single outlet.
To function correctly, the human brain requires fat.
When consuming pumpkins, we benefit from the right kind of fat, omega-3 fatty acids.
Incorporating Pumpkins Into Our Diet
There are different ways that we can consume pumpkins.
Though the variety of pumpkins which eventually ends up into our jack-o-lanterns are perfectly edible, it is highly recommended that we cook them with smaller sweet, pie or sweeter pumpkin varieties.
Always ensure that the pumpkins a few inches of stem left at all times and is heavy and hard for its size.
We can store uncut pumpkins in cool and dry places for a maximum of two months.
With that said, here are some of the tips for including pumpkin into our diets,
Instead of purchasing a canned puree, we should make our own.
Use canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree instead of oil or butter, when baking.
We can also make a quick and easy treat of pumpkin chocolate yogurt by blending Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cocoa butter and honey.
Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs
Though humans may wait until the fall season to enjoy various pumpkin related treats, dogs have pumpkin treats on their menu all year round. When shopping around, it is quite easy for us to spot pumpkin treats or flavored pumpkin treats at our local pet stores.
Most pet stores, stock their shelves with flavored pumpkin treats for good reason; pumpkins are tasty and nutritious treats for our pets.
With that said, here are some of the significant benefits that pumpkins have to offer our dogs.
Great Source of Nutrients for Dogs
Just like many vegetables, pumpkins have a high nutrient content. As mentioned earlier, pumpkins contain loads of Vitamin C and A.
Moreover; they also contain loads of other enriching minerals such as potassium. Pumpkin’s low calorie and fat content make it ideal for our dogs.
Pumpkin Aids in Weight Loss for Dogs
Naturally, dogs love pumpkins. Including an appropriate serving of pumpkin into our dog’s daily intake, adds both volume and fiber to its diet.
More volume and fiber content in the dog’s meal means that we can fill them up, without necessarily increasing their overall weight in the process. Both cooked and raw pumpkin are incredibly safe for dogs.
If your dog is suffering from either chronic kidney disease or diabetes, you should always consult with your vet first.
Healthy dogs, on the other hand, can be consume anything from flesh to seeds, as long as the pumpkins offered are fresh and not one that has been sitting in the store for quite a long time.
Pumpkins can quickly go rancid quickly. In case you opt for canned pumpkin, then always ensure that the pumpkin is organic and also does not contain added sugar.
Pumpkin Treats Bowel Related Disorders for Dogs
The fiber content found in pumpkins can either tighten or lose our dog’s bowel.
The pumpkin readily addresses any digestive challenges that our dogs might be facing.
Pumpkin Antioxidant for Dogs
Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants, which are mainly from the carotenoid family.
Due to the high absorption rate of the carotenoids within the dog’s digestive tract, they can sit in our dog’s cell membrane for quite a long time and can be used in fighting oxidative challenges.
Carotenoids are considered to be one of the most long-acting oxidants, and thus highly recommended for our dogs.
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Pumpkin Urinary Health for Dogs
The antioxidants and essential fatty acids, as well as the oils found in the pumpkin’s flesh, are believed to support urinary health.
Moreover, the pumpkins are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, iron, and potassium, which may aid our pets from developing cancer.
Key Pointers for Pumpkins
When purchasing canned pumpkins, it is essential to be cautious.
Banana pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, and spiced mocha, as well as human pumpkin consumables, are not recommended for dogs.
We should always give our dogs plain canned pumpkin or plain cooked pumpkin.
If you are not sure of the ingredients, always ensure that you check the label.
Moreover, it is important to always consult with our veterinary before making any changes to our dog’s diet.
Pumpkin Portion Size for Dogs:
Always ask your veterinary for guidance on the amount of pumpkin that you should include in your dog’s diet.
Depending on the size of the dog as well as its current health status. Recommended serving for a dog is one tablespoon to 2-4 ounces per serving.
Homemade Dog Food:
Pumpkins are an ideal addition to our dog’ homemade meals.
Pumpkin can be easily counted as a source of carb and served alongside rice.
Being a vegetable, pumpkins can be used alongside other plants.
Food Bought from Stores:
Always consider adding pumpkins into your dog’s daily intake.
Considering we are adding more food, it is essential always to minimize the amount of wet food or kibble that we will be feeding our dogs.
How To Store Your Pumpkin
Always place your pumpkin in a cool, dry and well-ventilated space, within your kitchen or store.
Exposure too much heat will result in the pumpkin aging quickly and also rot extremely quick.
Alternatively, we can also segment our pumpkins and then wrap the pumpkin up in a cling wrap.
Once the pumpkin is wrapped, we can store it in our fridge.
However, by doing this, we will cause the pumpkin to decline in quality and flavor much quickly.
Nonetheless, it is still an excellent alternative for individuals who are short of space in their kitchen.
How to Grow Pumpkins
Just like any other crop, pumpkins are relatively easy to grow.
However, one of the unique aspects of pumpkins that we have to put into considering is that their vines grow upon the surface directly, before they sprout substantial pumpkin fruits.
With that said, here are several facts regarding pumpkin growing that will assist in your backyard adventures.
Pumpkin vines will grow the best in soils that are very fertile, well drenched and compost rich.
Moreover, the ground should also have access to sunlight as well as a PH of roughly 6-6.5
The soil is supposed to be around 20 degrees and not less than 16 degrees for the seeds to germinate and begin growing.
It is highly advisable to mix chicken manure with the soil before sowing the seeds.
This, in turn, ensures that the earth has all the nutrients essential for a healthy pumpkin.
Because pumpkin vines do not have a deep root structure, it is highly recommended that we water them on a regular basis, especially during windy, hot and dry conditions.
Pumpkins will perform well in weathers of around 25-30 degrees, making it ideal for cultivation in tropical climates.
With that said, many vegetable and garden-loving people are going to relish the joy of growing, cooking and eating pumpkins, throughout the year.
The best companions for eating alongside pumpkin is chicken.
Moreover, the chicken will also aid in riding off the scraps, nourish the soil with their excretes, in the process ensuring a bountiful pumpkin growth in the days to come.