‘Tis the season when people get excited about all-things pumpkin-spiced. And I can certainly understand that as the flavor of pumpkin is delish! But while pumpkin-spiced lattes and pumpkin muffins aren’t very healthy for you, the actual pumpkin is.
Here are 5 surprising health benefits of pumpkin:
1. Weight Loss
Eating an entire pumpkin pie is not going to do anything nice for your waistline. But pumpkin itself can aid in your weight loss goals. That’s because pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion, helping you to feel fuller longer.
2. Better Vision
Fruits and veggies that are bright orange get their color from a phytochemical called beta-carotene. After you eat pumpkin, the beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, a nutrient essential for eye health.
3. Immunity Support
Fall and winter are when more people tend to have flu and cold symptoms. Eating pumpkin can help support your immune system because it is loaded with nearly 20% of the recommended amount of daily vitamin C.
4. Younger-Looking Skin
Vitamin C is also necessary to support collagen production in your body. And collagen is the glue that holds our skin and joints together. The more collagen you have, the plumper and firmer your skin will be. In addition, the beta-carotene in pumpkin that I mentioned protects our skin from harmful UV rays.
5. Decreased Cancer Risk
By now you’re probably turning into a big fan of beta-carotene. But in addition to being great for our skin and eyes, it is also great at fighting cancer. Research has shown that people who eat beta-carotene-rich foods have lower occurrences of certain forms of cancer like prostate and lung cancer.
Remember, eating something with pumpkin spice – and a whole lot of sugar – won’t do anything good for your health. Eat the real stuff and season it with some salt, butter and maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon to make an excellent side dish. You can also easily add pumpkin to soups and pasta dishes.