Pumpkin has a ton of healthy benefits to add nutrition to your diet and boost the taste of pretty much anything you’re craving. Sweet or savory—it complements both and is pretty low in calories, making it an excellent diet food. As if you needed more excuse to dig into pumpkin-spiced goodies all year long, here are five awesome benefits of your favorite orange-colored food.
1. It’s high in vitamin A…
Eating pumpkin is good for your peepers. One cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is an important vitamin for eye health and night vision..
Pumpkin’s bright orange color comes from its high beta-carotene concentration and beta-carotene is a carotenoid (an antioxidant) and a precursor of vit. A. Beta-carotene also helps protect us from the sun’s harmful UV rays, so it’s great for keeping skin youthful and fresh.
2. It’s packed with vitamin C, too
Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant known for strengthening the immune system and boosting collagen production (one of the reasons why you see so many skin products with pumpkin in them!). What’s more, it also improves iron absorption and studies show it reduces oxidative stress, which can prevent premature aging. One cup of pumpkin contains 19 percent of the recommended daily intake.
3. It’ll fill you up fast
It’s recommended that Americans get between 25-35 grams of fiber per day (different depending on age and gender), which is something most of us do not get enough of. Since pumpkin is high in fiber, with one cup containing about 7 grams, it’ll fill you up and benefit your health.
Fiber is needed for healthy digestion, it helps to lower cholesterol, and keeps us fuller for longer. Therefore it’s a pretty important nutrient to get in the diet. And if you can get your fill with delicious pumpkin, why not?
4. It’s great for your muscles (and before bed)
Pumpkin also contains magnesium, a mineral that many of us are not getting enough of and that is very important for many functions in the body like energy creation, muscle relaxation, and nervous system regulation. So, eating pumpkin after a tough workout can be especially helpful in recovery.
In just 1 cup of pumpkin, you’ll get 14 percent of your daily value. And pumpkin seeds contain 37 percent of the daily requirement, so don’t toss those when you’re carving a pumpkin. You can also add raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to salads, oatmeal, and yogurt for more magnesium and a boost of plant-based protein.
5. It has more potassium than a banana
Pumpkin is high in potassium, a mineral necessary for muscle contraction, good digestion, water balance, and a healthy blood pressure. So, it’s pretty important, and people may forget to eat enough of it. As with magnesium, if you’re active and are depleting electrolytes, like potassium,
it’s even more critical to restore levels. There’s over 500 milligrams of potassium in a cup of canned pumpkin—more than what you’d get in a large banana.