Here are Six reasons to enjoy pumpkins this autumn season, seeds and all:
1- Reduce your cancer risk: Pumpkins are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells against free radicals. Research shows that a diet rich in beta-carotene likely lowers the risk of many types of cancer.
2- Boost your immunity: Pumpkin packs nearly 20% of your daily-recommended amount of vitamin C! Combine that with the anti-viral properties of beta-carotene and you’ve got a valuable vegetable during the colder months when colds and flus run rampant. Pumpkin seeds are also packed with zinc, which helps optimize immune function.
3- Improve your vision: Beta-carotene is also essential for eye health, helping the retina to absorb and process light. In addition, pumpkin contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help to prevent cataracts.
4- Lift your mood: Pumpkin seeds are packed with L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid that builds serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of wellbeing and happiness.
5- Protect your heart: Pumpkin seeds are also rich in magnesium, which helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent stroke, and are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which also may improve cardiovascular health.
6- Promotes weight loss: Pumpkin is low in calories but high in fiber, which helps to promote a feeling of fullness, slows down digestion, and keeps your blood sugar levels stable, preventing crashes that tend to contribute to overeating.