A pumpkin is widely viewed as a vegetable, however, a pumpkin is scientifically a fruit because it contains seeds. It is nutritionally more similar to vegetables than fruits. Pumpkins are delicious in taste and are linked to many health benefits.
Pumpkins are the best sources of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body converts into vitamin A. There are approximately 500 micrograms of Vitamin A in 100gms of pumpkins. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which is involved in immune functions, vision, reproduction and communication in the cells.
Pumpkins are also rich in Vitamin C which is an important water soluble vitamin. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that protects cells from the damage caused by the toxic free radicals.
Pumpkins are also packed with Vitamin E which is also an important anti-oxidant. Vitamin E boosts immune functions, widens blood vessels and prevents unnecessary blood clotting in blood vessels.
Finally, pumpkins are packed with Vitamin B complex (B1, B3 and B6) which are powerful co-enzymes that support the conversion of digested food into utilizable energy.
Pumpkins are loaded with powerful minerals like
These minerals are responsible for enabling the synthesis of macronutrients. They also promote biochemical balance inside and outside the cells in what is known as plasma osmolarity.
Pumpkins are low in calories meaning they don’t spike insulin. They are therefore safe for people who want to lose weight or people with Diabetes.
A low caloric food like pumpkins will limit metabolic health problems and helps in weight loss.
Pumpkins are fibrous foods meaning they are packed with fiber. These fibers are important for our digestive health and bowel movements. They also improve cholesterol and makes you full fuller for a longer period.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, such as carotenoids and tocopherol found in Vitamin E and trace elements, such as selenium and zinc. Pumpkin seeds can slow the progression of hypertension and reduce too much harmful cholesterol in blood. They also protect against arthritis and can lower blood sugar levels.
How to cook a pumpkin
You can choose to boil the pumpkin in 5 easy steps.
- Cut the pumpkin into pieces, discard the stingy mesh inside.
- Peel the pumpkin and cut into sizeable chucks. You may choose not peel.
- Place in a saucepan, cover with water and add salt.
- Boil until the pumpkin chunks become soft and tender.
- Once the chunks cool off, you can decide to eat or chop them or mash them.
- You can mash and blend into pulp for babies.
- Cut the pumpkin into sizeable chunks.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- In a baking dish, place the chunks facing down and cover with foil.
- Bake in a preheated 150 -200 degrees for about 90 minutes until the chunks become soft and tender.
- Once the baked chunks cool off, scoop out the flesh, or just peel off the rind. You may choose to eat with the rind.
In conclusion, pumpkins are very delicious and nutritious. Consider introducing them into your cuisine and make them part of your nutritional plan.
Pumpkin leaves are also nutritious vegetables packed with roughage, chlorophyll and anti-oxidants.
If you are in Kenya, you can buy 5 pumpkins through my store in this link. I will deliver them to you. Each pumpkin is 5Kgs, large enough to feed a family of 5 in two meals.