5 Pumpkin Health Benefits
By: Brandi Wagner, RHN
1 October, 2015 by
5 Pumpkin Health Benefits
Sun Chlorella USA

Pumpkin Health Benefit #1: Slow Releasing Energy

Pumpkins are a complex carbohydrate, which means they are full of fiber and provide your body with slow releasing sustainable energy because they take longer for your body to digest. Can you say perfect natural fall pre-workout snack?

The high fiber content in pumpkins also helps satiate your appetite, keeping you full for longer periods of time. For this reason, pumpkin can also be effective for natural weight loss.

Pumpkin Health Benefit #2: Radiant Skin 

The bright orange color of pumpkin suggests that it contains high levels of the antioxidant vitamin, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A that contains carotenoids that are responsible for giving plant foods their bright orange, green, red or purple colored pigments.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant vitamin that has been linked to detoxifying the body naturally, improving cellular health and the appearance of the skin from the inside out. There's a certain kind of "glow” or radiance that results from eating foods high in beta-carotene and carotenoids - especially those with a bright orange hue.

Carotenoids have been said to improve skin color and may reduce the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles. Many natural health supplements contain carotenoids, but pumpkin is a great natural food alternative (and much cheaper, too!). Vitamin A rich foods are something you may want to consider next time you're in search of an anti-aging skin product.

Pumpkin Benefit #3: Improved Cardiovascular Health 

Fiber from fruits and vegetables is crucial for having a healthy heart. Without enough fiber in your diet, you risk having higher levels of toxins in your bloodstream and raising your LDL cholesterol levels which can lead to heart disease.

The fiber in pumpkins helps lower LDL cholesterol levels, aids in body detoxification and lowers blood pressure. Without fiber, your body is unable to properly cleanse your digestive tract to safely eliminate dangerous toxins from the body that contribute to illness and disease.

Pumpkin Benefit #4: A Happier Mood

Pumpkins contain l-trytophan, an amino acid and precursor to the "feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin. This means eating pumpkins has the potential to naturally improve your mood. L-tryptophan is also linked to reducing anxiety and improving the quality of your sleep.

Pumpkin Benefit #5: Improved Vision 

Vitamin A is known as the eye vitamin because it helps improve vision. Although carrots are often the first veggie to come to mind when you think of vitamin A, pumpkins offer the exact same benefits when it comes to healthy eyesight. In fact, the average person only requires approximately half a cup of cooked pumpkin to obtain the daily recommended intake of vitamin A.

As you can see, pumpkin has too many valuable health benefits to not take advantage of eating at least a few this fall. To clarify, it's pure pumpkin we're highlighting. Unfortunately, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin pie filling and other decadent pumpkin desserts don't contain the same health benefits and are packed full of refined sugar that has a negative impact on your health.

Pumpkins make a great addition to homemade and refined sugar-free whole grain muffins, pumpkin loaf, hashbrowns and stews. One of my favourite ways to eat pumpkins is in hearty and filling soup recipes that make plenty of leftovers for lunch!

On that note, here's one of my favourite recipes for an easy curried pumpkin soup to ensure your pumpkins don't go to waste this year!

Easy Curried Pumpkin Soup Recipe (Makes 5 Servings) 

4 cups of cubed pumpkin, steamed
2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 garlic clove, minced
1 inch ginger
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 tbsp garam masala (curry spice)
1 tsp turmeric
1 large white onion, diced
a pinch of pure celtic sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 tsp coconut oil

1. Cube your pumpkin and place in a vegetable basket steamer. Steam until fork tender.
2. Place coconut oil in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat.
3. Saute your ginger, garlic and onion until onion is slightly brown around the edges (approximately 3 minutes)
4. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender or Vitamix and blend until smooth.** If using a blender, warm your broth prior to blending if you'd like to eat the pumpkin soup right away. If using a Vitamix, blend on high (or on the soup setting) until the soup is warm or reaches your desired temperature.Serve and enjoy!

This soup will keep in the fridge for up to six days when stored in a glass, airtight container.

Pumpkins are wonderful, but what about the rest of the superfoods the fall season offers? Here are our other top rated fall superfoods put on your grocery list before the season ends.

About Brandi Wagner, RHN
Brandi Wagner is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, B.C. Experiencing her own health challenges at a young age led her to become passionate about educating on the healing properties of food, and how to achieve hormone balance, clear skin and sustainable weight loss naturally. In her spare time you'll find Brandi writing in her blog and hanging out with her teacup chihuahua, Coconut.

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