Pumpkins are a great winter tonic…..

Health benefits of Pumpkin

It is one of the vegetables which is very low calories; provides just 26 cal per 100 g and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; but is rich a source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. Recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.

Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.

beta-carotene rich pumpkins in full bloom.....

With 7384 mg per 100 g, it is one of the vegetable in the cucurbitaceae family with highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for vision. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A helps body protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.

It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compoundes like alpha and beta carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.

Zea-xanthin is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in reitina of the eyes. Thus, it helps protect from “age related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly.

Rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.

It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Pumpkin seeds are good source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are good for heart health. In addition, they are very good in protein, minerals and many health benefiting vitamins. For example 100 g of pumpkin seeds provide 559 cal, 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA), zinc (71%) etc… but no cholesterol. The seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to GABA in the brain and has a great anti-depressant effect.Good when sunlight levels are low in autumn/winter time.

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