5 Health Benefits Of Cooking With Pumpkins

'Tis the season for pumpkins. Don't just pick them up for decorating—one nutritionist shares why you should eat them, too!

With Halloween fast approaching, pumpkins are everywhere. From decorating our homes, to cooking with them, we just can’t get enough of this orange vegetable; so it’s great to know that they are actually a fantastic source of nutrients and offer us many health benefits. To explain a little more about just how pumpkins can boost your wellbeing, here are main reasons why this vegetable is so good for us.

Energy Boosting

Cooked pumpkin flesh contains really high levels of potassium, which makes them a great source of energy – in fact they contain even more potassium than that found in bananas! This means that pumpkins are a great choice for a post-workout snack, as the potassium helps restore the balance of electrolytes in the body, essential for our cells, tissues, and organs to function at their optimum level.

Prevent High Blood Pressure

Not only does the flesh of pumpkins contain health benefits, but pumpkin seed oil is known to be one of the three most nutritious oils. The oil contains high levels of the plant-based compound phytoestrogen, which has proven to be hugely beneficial in preventing high blood pressure. The oil also contains essential fats, which play a vital role in producing important hormones.

Boost Your Mood

Beyond the nutritional benefits, eating pumpkin seeds may even be beneficial for our mood. Pumpkin seeds are packed with tryptophan, the amino acid responsible for the production of serotonin, the mood enhancing chemical in our body. So eating pumpkin can in fact be a great natural mood enhancer!

Maintain a Healthy Heart

Pumpkin seeds are an incredible source of fiber which is not only great for your bowels, but also for your heart—those with high fiber diets are shown to possess significantly less risk of coronary heart disease. The seeds are also rich in phytosterols, proven to reduce bad cholesterol. Who knew such an easy snack could be so healthy!

Strengthen your Immune System

Nutrients such as folic acid, manganese, vitamin C, and zinc, are all known for helping strengthen the body’s natural immune system and they can all be found in high quantities in pumpkins! Not only this but riboflavin (or vitamin B2) which is known to help fight off bacterial functions, is also found in pumpkins, making it the perfect vegetable for warding off illness!

Frida Harju is a nutritionist at the health app Lifesum.