The Fall Superfood You Should Be Eating

KLAISTOW, GERMANY - OCTOBER 01:  Visitors shop for pumpkins and squash at the Spargelhof Buschmann & Winkelmann farm on October 1, 2013 in Klaistow, Germany. The Buschmann & Winkelmann farm, which grows approximately 80 different kinds of pumkins and squash, hosts an annual amusement park with tens of thousands of pumpkins and squash arranged into decorations that this year are in a Heidi and the Alm alpine theme.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Fall Superfood You Should Be Eating

Pumpkins aren’t just for carving. They are a great source for crucial nutrients.

Published October 8, 2013

Pumpkins are an age-old tradition of Halloween and iconic symbol of fall. But don’t overlook pumpkins as a source of nutrition. Pumpkins are loaded with vitamin A and fiber, and low in calories.

Raw pumpkin has only 15 calories per 1/2 cup, and is full of iron, zinc, and fiber. It’s high in vitamin C and beta carotene. Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Canned pumpkin has a similar nutrient profile with slightly less fiber than fresh, but more bioavailable beta carotene due to heat used in the canning process. And don’t forget the seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Following are the ways that pumpkin can benefit your health:

Cuts Cancer Risk

Like other orange vegetables and fruits, the sweet potato, the carrot and the butternut squash pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute. Food sources of beta-carotene seem to help more than a supplement, according to the NIH. And the plant sterols in pumpkin seeds have also been linked to fighting off certain cancers.

Reduces Cholesterol

Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

Sharpens Eyesight

A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Read more about the benefits of cooking with pumpkins at BlackDoctor.Org.

BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

(Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Written by Felicia Vance, BlackDoctor.Org


Latest in news