It's the time of year where pumpkins show up in seemingly everything, from lattes to pie to donuts. But because we're often using pumpkin in more indulgent recipes, you may be wondering, "are pumpkins healthy?" Yes! There's more to pumpkin than sweet treats; this autumn squash has health benefits galore, from weight loss to glowing skin. Keep reading to find out why you should eat more pumpkin in your plant-based diet.
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1. Weight Loss
Yes, this bright, sweet squash helps you lose weight. When it comes to healthy weight loss, it’s all about the quality of food you’re eating, not the quantity. It’s important to get enough food to nourish your body, so sticking to less calorie dense, vitamin rich foods can ensure that you can eat until you're satisfied while losing weight. Pumpkin just so happens to fit that bill, along with its high fiber and low fat content (it's 94 percent water, by the way), all of which can help you reach your ideal body weight faster.
2. Heart Health
Speaking of high fiber and low fat, this dynamic duo is ideal for a healthy, strong heart. Plant foods in general keep that pump running on clean fuel, but pumpkin is extra beneficial because of it’s high vitamin C and potassium content, both of which lower blood pressure and reduce risk of stroke.
Speaking of vitamin C, pumpkins are crazy rich in antioxidants, which helps reduce inflammation. Less inflammation means less risk for serious chronic diseases.
Pumpkins aren't just Vitamin C powerhouses; they're chock full of vitamin A, which means better eye health, stronger bones, boosted immunity, and reduced risk for cancer.
4. Beautiful Skin
Like all orange fruits and vegetables, pumpkins contain large amounts of beta carotene (which we convert to the vitamin A we just touched on). Beta carotene is essential for healthy skin because it protects you from UV rays (the ones that cause serious skin damage like wrinkles and inflammation!)
The antioxidants in pumpkins also reduce inflammation, which can cause acne. So if you want glowing and clear skin, eat up!
5. Boosted Immune System
One of the best natural ways to boost your immune system? Eating immunity-boosting foods, and you can add pumpkin to the list. Vitamins A, C, and E are found in abundance in this humble squash, and pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc, an immunity-boosting essential mineral known to shorten and reduce the severity of the common cold and protect the lungs from inflammation. Good thing that pumpkin spice season coincides with flu season!
- Pumpkin season is about more than pumpkin spice lattes! These nutrient dense squashes help with: weight loss, heart health, disease prevention, healthier skin, and boosted immunity!
- One of our favorite (and most popular) pumpkin recipes: this no-bake vegan pumpkin pie!
By Caroline DiNicola Fawley
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies