By David Saunders, Health Editor
Leading London Nutritionist Lily Soutter (www.lilysoutternutrition.com) believes Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween! She explains, “ Got a pumpkin or two lying around? If you’ve previously been tossing away your triangled-eyed friend once the festivities are over, then you may be missing out on a highly nutritious seasonal vegetable that can add real value to your diet.
Eating more pumpkin will benefit you in a number of ways, which is why Lily has pulled together 5 impressive reasons to make the most out of this seasons wonder food…
1. To fight colds and infections
The bright orange hue that comes with pumpkin is from a special phytochemical called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene turns into Vitamin A within the body and plays a key role with supporting a healthy immune system 1.
2. Sharp vision
Eyesight diminishes with age, but fortunately by fuelling our body with the right nutrients we can lower the risk of sight loss. Pumpkin’s rich content of vitamin A supports healthy vision, but it’s also rich in plant compounds including lutein and zeaxanthin which are associated with a reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts 2.
3. Weight loss
Pumpkin has a similar consistency to starchy carbohydrates such as potato. This means it can make tasty and satisfying alternative to sweet potato, yet comes with as few as 26 calories per 100g.Have a go at switching spaghetti for spiralized pumpkin spaghetti, or your mash potato for a pumpkin mash, which can save calories without compromising on flavour.
4. Skin Glow
Pumpkin’s rich source of vitamin A means that it is the perfect vegetable for glowing skin. Vitamin A is a key nutrient required for supporting the daily replacement of skin cells and is critical for the formation of healthy skin. It’s precursor beta-carotene is an antioxidant found in abundance in pumpkin, and has been shown to play a role in protecting skins cells from sun damage 3, which is critical for the prevention of ageing skin.
5. Heart Health
It’s not just pumpkin flesh which is highly nutritious, pumpkin seeds are also a top source of magnesium, fibre and healthy polyunsaturated fats. All of these components play a role with maintaining healthy blood pressure 4 and supporting a healthy heart.