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9 reasons pumpkin or kaddu is good for your health

Top reasons for including pumpkin in your diet.

Written by Sameer Jha |Updated : January 20, 2015 12:23 PM IST

Pumpkin, popularly called kaddu in India, is a vegetable that people usually associate with Halloween and Thanksgiving. It might not be a favourite vegetable in every household but it is definitely high in nutrition, offering multiple health benefits. Here are a few reasons you must include this super food in your diet.

1# Good for your digestive system: 1 cup of boiled, mashed pumpkin meets 11% of your daily requirement of fibre, making it an extremely good food for keeping digestive system healthy by helping prevent problems like constipation.

2# Great for your eyes: Pumpkin is one of the richest sources of vitamin A. 1 cup of boiled pumpkin 100g meets 245% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A and carotenoids like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds help prevent cataract and age-related macular degeneration and keep your vision intact. Here are 5 Vitamin A rich foods you should include in your diet.

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3# Helps you lose weight: Pumpkin is extremely low in calories with a 100g serving containing just 26 calories. Additionally, they have fibre which makes you feel full without making you fat.

4# Improves immunity: Pumpkin is an extremely rich source of vitamin A, E, C and iron which helps improve your immune system. A strong immunity will keep most infections at bay and prevent the unpleasant condition of falling sick. Besides pumpkin also contains beta carotene that acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent [1]. Here are some other foods you can eat to improve your immunity.

5# Lowers your risk of heart disease: Heart disease is caused due to your arteries getting blocked due to bad cholesterol. The fibre present in pumpkins helps in clearing these blockages and prevents heart disease. Also, low consumption of carotenoids has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Consumin pumpkin will keep this carotenoid concentration high making a heart healthy food [1]. Here are 8 natural cholesterol busters that'll keep heart disease at bay.

6# Good food for diabetics: The glycemic load of pumpkin is three, which makes it a preferable food option for diabetics. In a research carried out by East China Normal University in 2007, it was found that pumpkins boosted regeneration of damaged pancreas cells in diabetic rats. This caused an increase in insulin levels in rats. The study implies that pumpkin hold the potential to manage sugar levels not only in diabetic individuals but also in those who are pre-diabetic or at a greater risk of developing diabetes [2]. Another study suggested that pumpkin is effective in improving glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.

7# Helps prevent breast cancer: The strong antioxidant activity exhibited by polyphenols and vitamins in pumpkin helps prevent free radical damage to cellular DNA, thereby helping prevent cancer. According to a research conducted by The Nurses Health Study, women who had higher concentration of carotenes in their blood had the lowest risk of having breast cancer.

8# Lowers fatigue: Pumpkin is a good option for those who tend to feel tired soon during a workout session. It has potent anti-fatigue ability. A study showed that pumpkin extract helped lower blood levels of lactic acid and ammonia. It reduced creatine kinase activity following a 15-min swimming test. These are biological end products of cellular respiration that promotes a feeling of weakness and fatigue during physical workout [3].

9# Keeps you hydrated: Being rich in fibre, pumpkin has a good water retention capacity. 90% of pumpkin content is water. Consuming pumpkin is therefore a great way to hydrate and refresh oneself.

You can also derive all these benefits from pumpkin seeds.

You can try these recipes made using pumpkin:

Image source: Getty images


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References

  1. Kim MY, Kim EJ, Kim Y-N, Choi C, Lee B-H. Comparison of the chemical compositions and nutritive values of various pumpkin (Cucurbitaceae) species and parts. Nutrition Research and Practice 2012;6(1):21-27. doi:10.4162/nrp.2012.6.1.21.
  2. Daily Telegraph.com, "Pumpkin May Cut Injections for Diabetes". Daily Telegraph (London, UK: Telegraph (Group). 9 July 2007.
  3. Wang SY, Huang WC, Liu CC, Wang MF, Ho CS, Huang WP, Hou CC, Chuang HL, Huang CC. Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) fruit extract improves physical fatigue and exercise performance in mice. Molecules. 2012 Oct 9;17(10):11864-76. doi: 10.3390/molecules171011864. PubMed PMID: 23047485.

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