5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin

5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin

While a pumpkin spice latte is unlikely to do your health any favours this fall, fresh pumpkin is glowing with goodness. If you’re yet to be tempted to try the innards of that Jack-o’-lantern, here are 5 health benefits of pumpkin that might change your mind:

1. Source of Antioxidants

Pumpkin is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that provide positive antioxidant activity.

Beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin are all associated with healthy vision throughout life. These nutrients guard against the kind of free radical damage that leads to cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye problems.

Pumpkin is also a great source of magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc!

2. Source of Fibre

A cup of mashed pumpkin contains just 50 calories, but packs in 3 grams of soluble fibre. This means that pumpkin is a great way to fill up and cut overall calorie intake without feeling hungry.

3. Healthy Body Function!

Mother serving pumpkin soup for daughter in kitchen

Pumpkin is a good source of antioxidants, including vitamin C and A (as betacarotene). It also contains zinc which helps to maintain immune function, making pumpkin a great addition to your back-to-school regimen.

So, to help keep your family healthy year round, make a big pot of pumpkin soup and send the kids to school with a thermos full to keep them warm!

4. Feed Your Face!

If pumpkin carving has left you with a bigger pile of gourd innards than you care to eat, how about smearing some on your face? Seriously, pumpkin flesh makes an excellent face mask! Here’s how you make it:

  • 1/4 cup of fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon of oats
  • 1 tablespoon of soy milk or almond milk

Apply the mask to your face. After 20 minutes, wash off the mask with warm water and enjoy the feeling of soft, moisturized skin that is better prepared for the brisk autumn winds.

5. Diarrhea  – In Pets

Domestic cat and golden retriever in grass at home. Best friends.

Many of us with a dog, cat or other animal companion at home will already know that a little pumpkin puree can help when diarrhea strikes. As someone who has done my fair share of emergency dog walks in the middle of the night, I can attest to the benefits of giving pumpkin to help with diarrhea, so that humans can get a healthy amount of sleep.

Avoid sleepless nights, animal distress and the overpriced pumpkin at the pet store by simply freezing small amounts of cooked pumpkin so you have it on hand in case of gastrointestinal upset in your animal friends. The fibre in pumpkin soaks up excess water in the digestive tract, helping to relieve diarrhea in dogs, cats and even in pet rats. Just be sure to add an appropriate amount of pumpkin to the animal’s food, accounting for their size: A Chihuahua or cat should only get a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin, while a 120 lb Great Dane may be OK with half a cup.