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It's Halloween... a good time for some healthy pumpkin

It’s Halloween…the first day of a three-day observance of Allhallowtide; the second day being All Saints Day followed by All Souls day. So before you plan your costume parties, go trick-or-treating, or decide how to spook your friends, you have to carve jack o’lanterns from huge orange pumpkins. What better day then, to write about this nutrient-dense vegetable/fruit which is a veritable power-house of vitamins and minerals….and not just a Halloween decoration, or a pie filling for Thanksgiving.

Health benefits of Pumpkin
  • They contain good amounts of potassium which stabilizes blood pressure. In fact the daily consumption of this vegetable will bring down both systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure in just 12 weeks.
  • Increased potassium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss  of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
  • They contain vitamin C which is good for improving immunity and also for providing an immunity boost during times of illness.
  • Their fiber content helps maintain proper digestive health and prevents constipation. It also helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time and keeps hunger pangs at bay.
  • The iron in pumpkins has been shown to boost fertility in females.
  • They are a good source of Vitamin A (beta carotene) and antioxidants which could augment eye health and help you see better in dim light, decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration and prevent other types of degenerative damage to the eye.
  • The beta carotenes in pumpkin reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer like cancer of the colon and of the prostate gland.
  • Beta carotenes also protect against asthma and help prevent heart disease. They also help form and maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones.
  • The vitamin A in pumpkin (beta-carotene ) is  essential during pregnancy and lactation for the proper synthesis of hormones.
  • Pumpkin seeds are chock-full of nutrients and make an interesting, satiating snack. They are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter hormone that helps you relax and sleep better.
  • The zinc in pumpkin seeds helps improve sexual health and testosterone levels in males.
  • Pumpkin seed oil protects prostate health.

Consuming just one cup of cooked pumpkin daily will provide over 100 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin A !! Apart from this you will also get 20 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, 10 percent  for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese, and at least 5 percent for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
So make a lip-smacking pumpkin curry or sabji, oven-roast cubes of pumpkin to make a hearty soup, add steamed and grated pumpkin to your rotis, theplas, parathas, raitas and salads, puree cooked pumpkin and combine it with herbs/ yoghurt to make an interesting dip or sandwich spread….you can even add it to a smoothie along with soymilk or coconut milk and some chia seeds. A pureed pumpkin face pack will provide an instant glow to your skin and fetch you many compliments.

Happy Halloween !!!

Stay blessed with good health .…always !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza

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