It is the vegetable that, more than any other, represents autumn. Let’s find out all the properties of the pumpkin. The pumpkin is the quintessential autumn vegetable; it is harvested from August until November and is the most critical and well-known iconic symbol of Halloween. Low in calories and rich in nutrients, this food has incredible properties and many benefits. For this reason, it can be consumed in a thousand different ways.
Properties And Benefits Of Pumpkin
The pumpkin is a natural cure for our body. In addition to having a low in calories (26 kcal per 100 grams) and a small number of carbohydrates and fats, it is also recommended for diabetics and diets low-calorie. It is made up of 90% water and is rich in fiber. So let’s discover all the benefits of pumpkin for our body.
- Pumpkin, like all orange-colored vegetables, is rich in beta-carotene, a substance that the body uses for the production of vitamin A, valid for the health of the skin, mucous membranes, and sight, especially in low light, and from extreme antioxidant power, which limits the formation of free radicals and also helps in the prevention of tumors.
- It also contains many other minerals and vitamins, including calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and E . Potassium helps maintain a correct water balance in the body and mucous membranes. In contrast, vitamin C helps wound healing, relieves joint pain, reduces the adverse effects of stress, and prevents degenerative diseases.
- Thanks to the high concentration of water and fiber, pumpkin helps improve intestinal transit, fights constipation, balances the flora, has excellent diuretic properties, and counteracts fluid retention.
- Pumpkin is also rich in Omega-3, a good fat that helps reduce blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure and improve circulation, thus avoiding the onset of strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular diseases.
- The mineral salts in which pumpkin is rich have properties that also affect mood: for example, magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that brings immediate psycho-physical benefits, while the tryptophan contained in its pulp is an amino acid that contributes to the production of serotonin (the hormone of good mood), which regulates the sleep/wake cycle, the sense of hunger/satiety and spirit and is therefore helpful against insomnia and depression.
- Pumpkins also have nourishing, emollient, and protective properties that are very useful for skin, nails, and hair. The perfect ingredient for DIY face masks, its pulp can be used to soothe skin inflammations, while its antioxidant capabilities make it ideal for keeping skin young and smooth.
Properties Of Pumpkin Seeds
Even pumpkin seeds are rich in benefits: they are a veritable superfood, rich in protein, Omega-3, zinc, magnesium, and fiber. Pumpkin seeds are very effective in lowering bad cholesterol in the blood, protecting the heart thanks to the high content of magnesium. They contain cucurbit, a substance that helps protect the prostate and counteract pathologies of the male and female urinary tract, also helping to prevent cystitis. Furthermore, they have powerful antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral efficacy.
How To Choose And Keep It
To choose a good and well ripe pumpkin, if it is whole, lightly tap the skin, which should emit a dull sound. On the other hand, if you prefer to opt for the pumpkin already cut into pieces, pay attention to the surface, which must not be too dry or too ripe, while the seeds must be moist and slippery. Also, check that the petiole is intact and well attached and the skin is not bruised. Also, remember that a vital freshness detector is the hardness of the pulp when cut. If you bought a whole pumpkin, you could also keep it for the entire winter as long as the environment is cool and dry.
If, on the other hand, you have chosen the pumpkin in pieces, it is better to keep it in the fridge, possibly wrapped in cling film (or in beeswax) and placed together with the other vegetables, and consume it within a maximum of one week. Remember that, for exemplary conservation, it is necessary to avoid causing bruises to the fruit’s skin, which accelerate the deterioration of the pulp. If you want to enjoy pumpkin all year round, you can decide to freeze it after boiling or steaming it.
No particular contraindications derive from the consumption of pumpkin, if not the usual recommendation to avoid excessive consumption, as with all foods, even more so about the seeds, which, unlike the pulp, have a high calorie and lipid content.