Pumpkin is a yummy and seasonal flavor that signals the welcoming of fall, and if you glance around you you’ll quickly notice that there is a pumpkin TAKEOVER happening. And you know what? We kind of think this pumpkin-extravaganza-craziness is wonderful. Why? Because the pumpkin packs some pretty powerful health benefits. Here are 5 reasons it’s totally okay to be obsessed with pumpkin this fall:
1. Feel Fuller, Longer. Pumpkin seeds contain about 1.7 grams of dietary fiber per ounce, and one cup of mashed pumpkin contains only 50 calories per cup and 3 grams of fiber. Fiber helps you feel fuller, longer, and keeps your appetite at bay so you consume less overall.
2. Boost Vision. One cup of pumpkin contains almost twice the recommended daily intake amount of vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in dim light. It also slows the decline of retinal function in those with retinitis pigmentosa. Bonus: vitamin A is amazing in helping form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, and bones.
3. Sleep Better. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with tryptophan, the amino acid that contributes to that lovely post-Thanksgiving sleepiness. Tryptophan also helps the body produce serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that aids in relaxation. So not only will pumpkin seeds help you sleep, they’ll boost your mood.
4. Lower Blood Pressure. Pumpkin seed oil contains phytoestrogens, which research shows are beneficial in combating and preventing high blood pressure. Research studies on rats showed that when fed a diet supplement with pumpkin seed oil, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure lowered in just 12 weeks.
5. Healthier Heart. Since pumpkin is rich in fiber, it can also aid in heart health. A Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals found that those who ate a diet rich in fiber had a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who ate a diet low in fiber. Another study done by Swedish researchers found that women who ate a diet high in fiber had a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to women who ate a low fiber diet.
Need some inspiration for recipes to incorporate pumpkin into your diet this season? Look no further — here are 5 pumpkin packed recipes you’ll want to make immediately!