With its inviting and bright color, its sweet and delicious flavor, and the versatility that distinguishes it in the kitchen, pumpkin is the queen of the autumn table. Crowning it as the protagonist of various recipes, from first courses to desserts, is not only its nutritional qualities; it is an exceptional provider of benefits for the body.
From the pulp to the seeds, through the peel, nothing of the pumpkin is thrown away! With a few calories, you can fill up on vitamins and minerals. It is precious not only in cooking but also as an ingredient in beauty products for the skin and hair. What are you waiting for to discover all its secrets and beneficial virtues? In particular, don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to use its seeds as a snack; they are a boost to health for the whole family.
A Sweet Source Of Natural Nutrients
Originally from Central America, the pumpkin arrived on European tables in the 16th century, thanks to the Spanish colonists. The natives of the New Continent already used it for medicinal purposes. In Italy, it is now cultivated mainly in the northern regions but is widespread throughout the country. Its firm pulp, with its characteristic orange color, wins over cooking enthusiasts because it is beneficial (and tasty) for many preparations.
There are different types and forms, all of which share some essential characteristics: the nutritional properties and, therefore, the beneficial effects that pumpkin can give to those who consume it regularly. Sweet and delicious, it can also be eaten by those who have to pay attention to their diet, such as diabetics; it is, in fact, made up of 92 percent water, has very few calories (about twenty per 100 grams), and, on the other hand, shines with the richness of its nutritional components.
Pumpkin is a super concentrate of fiber, amino acids, vitamins, and mineral salts, while carbohydrates and fats are present in limited quality. In particular, it is one of the most abundant natural sources of carotenoids. It has diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and calming properties, but it can also be used as a soothing agent for skin infections. It is suitable for the heart and circulation, and it even helps athletes. Cooking is simple because it lends itself to creating multiple dishes, but you can also consume the seeds alone to take advantage of the benefits of pumpkin.
The Thousand Properties Of The Orange Vegetable
Many of the properties of the pulp are also found in the seeds. Here are the most essential virtues of the autumn vegetable loved by adults and children:
- It is a supernatural antioxidant. The characteristic orange color betrays one of its peculiar characteristics: pumpkin boasts a very high concentration of carotenes. These precursors of vitamin A are potent antioxidants: they limit the formation of free radicals and help prevent cellular aging and tumors;
- helps fight constipation (see the special dedicated to magnesium) (thanks to the vitamins, the abundant quantity of water, and the high fiber content), counteracts water retention (promotes diuresis), helps to expel toxins, and improves the health of the urinary tract). naturally eliminates intestinal parasites (thanks to cucurbitacin, a rare and precious amino acid);
- helps keep cholesterol levels under control with Omega 3, contributing to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Magnesium, potassium, and folate contained in pumpkin are friends of the heart.
- In diabetics, as demonstrated by an interesting study, it can contribute to blood sugar control.
- Insomnia, mood disorders, and stress? Pumpkin can be helpful in counteracting anxiety, lack of sleep, or depression, thanks to magnesium (a natural muscle relaxant that brings valuable and immediate psychophysical benefits) and tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin.
- the pulp (but even more so the seeds) are very precious allies for men struggling with prostate enlargement problems;
- boasts nourishing, emollient, and protective properties. Pumpkin is used in cosmetics to keep the skin young and smooth. It can also be a raw material for making DIY masks to purify the face or soothe sunburns. Thanks to potassium, it helps to recover energy after sports training.
Pumpkin Seeds: A Super Concentrate Of Benefits
In addition to the delicious orange pulp, pumpkin also gives us delicious edible seeds. It has a flat shape, a dark green color, a rubbery texture, and a nut-like flavor. They are rich in minerals; a quarter of a cup is enough to have half the recommended daily dose of magnesium and iron, as well as zinc, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, manganese, and copper.
They also contain vitamins, essential fatty acids (for example, Omega 3), and amino acids such as cucurbitin and tryptophan, known for their antidepressant properties. In short, pumpkin seeds boast an excellent nutritional profile and are very rich in active ingredients beneficial for the body. Let’s see how they work.
“Healthy Nuggets” For Prostate And Female Disorders
Thanks to beta sterols (substances similar to estrogens and androgens), pumpkin seeds have preventive action against various disorders of the female and male urinary tract. In association with zinc and Omega 3, they are valuable allies for preventing and soothing the annoying symptoms related to prostate enlargement, as also demonstrated by some studies. They are also a precious defense weapon for women: they reduce hot flashes, headaches, and female pain linked to estrogen deficiency in the delicate transition to menopause.
The dark green oil produced from pumpkin seeds has been used throughout history in India, Europe, and America to fight parasites, aid the digestive system, and treat reproductive disorders. The seeds are also considered a notable natural anti-inflammatory, with a practical action like a drug but without side effects. There are even those who argue that diets rich in pepitas may be associated with a lower risk of cancer; in particular, a 2012 observational study published in Nutrition and Cancer explains how their consumption can reduce the possibility of getting breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Unique Elements For The Whole Organism
But it doesn’t end here. These tiny green pearls enclosed in the pumpkin still hold many surprises. The high concentration of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids combined has genuinely remarkable effects.
- Zinc, in addition to strengthening the immune system, strengthens memory and the brain, especially in synergy with Omega 3;
- Magnesium is beneficial for heart activity; its action, combined with that of the other elements contained in pumpkin seeds, lowers the level of bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the health of the entire cardiovascular system.
- The joint supply of proteins, vitamins, and minerals speeds up the regeneration of damaged cells;
- fibers promote digestion and help the intestine function regularly;
- rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps improve mood and promotes a night’s rest; pumpkin seeds are allies against insomnia, are a natural anti-stress, and reduce anxiety and nervous problems;
- can contribute to the prevention of kidney stones.
There Are Lots Of Ideas For Introducing Them Into Your Diet
Once the pumpkin has been cut, collect the seeds and remove the filaments. Rinse them, dry them with a cloth, and leave them to air for a couple of hours. To make them tastier, it may be helpful to toast them. Add salt, if necessary, only after cooking. You can do it in a pan or the oven. It only takes a few minutes, and you will have crunchy seeds to use in various ways:
- to start the day in the best way, mixed with yogurt;
- You can take them with you during the day as an energizing snack (the iron makes them an excellent source of energy);
- as a tasty ingredient for salads, cream soups, or soups;
- Cook fish or risotto with originality;
- to enrich the flavor of homemade bread or focaccia.
- Some recommend using the seeds raw.
- Instead, by cooking them in water, you obtain an effective decoction against insomnia or to calm bladder pain.
- Don’t exaggerate with the doses; unlike pulp, the calories, in this case, are decidedly higher. To benefit from the virtues of pumpkin seeds, it is sufficient to consume some of them every day.