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Pumpkin

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Pumpkin Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 91.6 g
Calories: 26 kcal
Protein: 1 g
Carbohydrate: 6.5 g
Dietary fiber: 0.5 g
Sugars: 2.8 g
Fat: 0.1 g
Saturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 9 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.6 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 16 μg
Vitamin A: 426 μg
Vitamin E: 1.1 mg
Vitamin K: 1.1 μg
Calcium: 21 mg
Iron: 0.8 mg
Magnesium: 12 mg
Phosphorus: 44 mg
Potassium: 340 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Zinc: 0.3 mg

If the only time you’ve bought a pumpkin is to carve one for Halloween, you may have been throwing away a really nutrient-rich vegetable. Not only is the flesh a fantastic source of beta-carotene (essential for eye health), but the seeds of the pumpkin are a nutritional treasure trove that may even have some use for the management of diabetes.

The flesh of the pumpkin is a great basis for anything from soups and stews to pies, and roasted pumpkin seeds are a fantastic addition to a whole host of dishes, making it an easy vegetable to incorporate into a balanced diet.

Pumpkin flesh is extremely high in beta-carotene. According to the USDA database, 100g of pumpkin provides a huge 170% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin A equivalents. This is the reason that pumpkin has such a bright orange colour (carrots are another food high in beta-carotene). 100g of pumpkin also provides 15% DV of vitamin C, and a significant 9% DV of potassium, and has just 26 calories (just over 1.5% DV!).

Pumpkin seeds are also something of a nutritional powerhouse. 100g of dried pumpkin seeds (not an amount you’ll be likely to eat in one go), contains 559 calories, about 28% DV.

But for this, you get 60% DV of protein, which is good for increasing feelings of satiety and for weight loss generally. Not only this, but that 100g contains 21g of polyunsaturated fat and 16g of monounsaturated fat (considered good fats, because it is harder to get them in the western diet), and only 9g of saturated fat (considered bad fats).

100g also contains 148% DV of magnesium and 48% DV iron, significant amounts of these essential nutrients.

Pumpkin also shines when it comes to the concrete benefits these nutrients (and others), have on your health. The high levels of beta-carotene in its flesh may lower your risk of getting certain cancers, specifically prostate cancer and colon cancer. Vitamin A (which beta-carotene is a precursor to), is also essential for eye health.

Pumpkin seeds also have some distinctive and important health benefits, in particular the treatment of diabetes. Pumpkin and flax seed mixture has been shown to manage some of the effects of diabetes such as high fat levels, and also has been shown to be beneficial in managing diabetic nephropathy, a complication of diabetes.

These benefits may be due to the antioxidant effects of pumpkin seeds, which also means that pumpkin seeds have a broad DNA and cell protective role.

So next Halloween, make sure not to throw away the pumpkin seeds; eat them instead!