7 Health Benefits You Get by Eating Pumpkin This Halloween
For most of us, this is the first time we’re going to celebrate Halloween differently. If the thought of social distancing through one of the most fun celebrations of the year depresses you, I have some good news: there are plenty of traditions you can maintain and still stay safe from COVID-19.
In fact, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has just issued their list of safe and not-so-safe activities Americans can do this Halloween. You can check it out right here and get some bonus ideas on how you can have fun this year with your loved ones.
Now let’s take care of the most important part: food.
I know Halloween is mostly known for the abundance of sweets and candy available right in our homes (it’s called trick or treat for a reason, right?). However, this holiday also provides important health benefits through the very fruit that represents it: pumpkins.
Aside from its unique taste, pumpkin also provides valuable health benefits including strengthening our immune system and even improving our vision.
Enough with the chit chat, though! Let’s see what this amazing fruit has in store for us:
It’s very rich in antioxidants
Have you ever heard of free radicals? These tiny molecules are naturally produced by our body and helps us to destroy harmful bacteria that enters the system. However, our environment is also filled with toxic free radicals that increase our chances for developing long-term illnesses (think cancer or heart disease).
Pumpkins are an excellent source of antioxidants, which can destroy toxic free radicals and protect every cell in our body from this external threat. In fact, studies performed on animals proved that antioxidants found in pumpkins (alpha-carotene and beta-carotene) can protect your skin from sun damage, thus lowering the risk of skin cancer.
However, antioxidants are so much more valuable than that. In my post called intuitively ‘What’s All the Fuss About Antioxidants?’ I cover everything you should know about these tiny guys in our body.
It boosts your immunity
Pumpkins are packed with plenty of beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A as soon as it enters the system.
A 2015 study published in the journal Nature Medicine showed that vitamin A is a great ally for fighting off infections and strengthening your immune system. Furthermore, other studies point out that people with weak immunity are also usually suffering from a vitamin A deficiency.
Additionally, pumpkin is very high in vitamin C, which promotes white blood cell production, which in turn improves the immune system. This vitamin can also work wonders during the healing process by reducing inflammation, as the National Institutes of Health states.
It protects your eyesight
Pumpkins are loaded with important nutrients which can reduce your risk of sight loss – a common condition especially in people over 50.
Once again, the high content of beta-carotene in pumpkins can give your body a healthy dose of vitamin A. Not only does this vitamin maintain good eyesight, but it also prevents sight loss over time. For example, studies published by the National Institutes of Health show that vitamin A deficiency is a common cause for blindness.
Furthermore, pumpkin is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. According to the Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine, these compounds can lower your risks of developing macular degeneration (AMD), a process that is often accelerated by aging.