admin - October 10, 2013
When it comes to health maintenance, it’s easy to wonder what pills or supplements are best for the body. There are many health benefits of getting the most vitamins and other nutritional requirements from your diet. This is especially true with “superfoods” – items in the produce section that are packed full of nutrients.
Did you know that pumpkin is a superfood? If you haven’t noticed (and how could you not?), it’s in-season right now. All of you pumpkin-lovers out there can now rejoice because pumpkin is delicious and healthy. Here’s how:
Nutrients & Vitamins
One half-cup of pumpkin is loaded with things the human body needs to stay healthy. Among them are:
- Vitamin A, for healthy eyesight
- Vitamin C, for an immune-system boost
- Fiber, for weight loss
- Phytosterols, to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Cancer-fighting antioxidants, according to the National Cancer Institute
- Tryptophan, a mood stabilizer
- Potassium, to balance electrolytes
Sometimes when people get a cholesterol screening through companies like Life Line Screening, they’re disappointed to learn their levels are high. This may make them feel like healthy aging isn’t possible if they eat good-tasting (and often unhealthy) foods. But as part of a healthy diet determined by their doctor, pumpkin can help them enjoy eating well while losing weight and lowering their levels of bad cholesterol.
In 2009, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study revealing that diets low in calorie, low in carbohydrates, and high in dietary fiber are the most likely to lose more weight over time. Pumpkin is an ideal contribution to such a diet since it is naturally low-calorie, high in fiber, but also delicious.
Pumpkin is great for anyone who wants to stay healthy as they get older, not just for those who want to lose weight. A single serving of pumpkin packs 200 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A, which is a necessity for aging eyes. And after hard exercise, pumpkin can help restore electrolyte balance. It has more potassium than an equal serving of bananas, but significantly fewer carbohydrates and calories.
Exercise, regular check-ups, preventive screening and a varied, plant-based diet that takes advantage of superfoods are the best ways to stay healthy as you get older. Since pumpkin has so many health benefits, why not enjoy more of it? It’s delicious and healthy, so you don’t have to feel an ounce of guilt.
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