By | Healthy Living.

It’s almost Halloween, and that means its pumpkin-carving season. You might be familiar with the pumpkins turned jack-o-lanterns, but how familiar are you with the health benefits of pumpkin?

Pumpkin is a kind of squash that contains vitamins and nutrients that are good for your heart health, immune system, eyesight, and skin.  Below we will discuss the benefits of eating pumpkin and some of the best ways to prepare pumpkin this fall.

Immune-boosting Vitamins

Pumpkin contains beta-carotene.  Your body can turn beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which strengthens your immune system.  In addition, pumpkins contain vitamin C and E which are also very important for a strong immune system.

Having a strong immune system is especially helpful during the holidays when the common cold is brought in with colder weather.

Nutrients for Eye Health

Not only is Vitamin A good for your immune system, but it also has benefits for your eye health. Vitamin A, paired with the Lutein and Zeaxanthin found in pumpkin, makes the squash a food that decreases risk of sight loss.

Cancer-preventing Antioxidants

Pumpkin is high in carotenoids, which are a type of antioxidant. Carotenoids are linked to decreasing risk of stomach, pancreas, throat, and breast cancer. Incorporating these kinds of antioxidants into your diet regularly can greatly decrease your risk of developing cancer.

Heart-healthy Nutrients

Pumpkin is full of nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium which lower blood pressure.  Additionally, the antioxidants in pumpkin work against the oxidization of bad cholesterol.  All of these nutrients, therefore, play an important role in heart health.

Nutrients for Healthy Skin

Pumpkin’s health benefits extend even to your skin.  Beta-carotene, for instance, works as a natural sunscreen for your skin, protecting it from harmful UV rays, and preventing skin cancer from developing. Additionally, pumpkin’s rich vitamin C content is vital to your body’s production of collagen, which helps skin maintain its strength and health.

How should you eat pumpkin?

Around the holidays, pumpkin is most often baked into pies or loaves of bread.  However, it is also delicious in soup, or even roasted in the oven with some salt and pepper.

Roasted pumpkin seeds are also a tasty snack, and they are full of nutrients.  Try roasting them with olive oil and a little salt.  Or for a sweeter version, toss them in some cinnamon sugar before sticking them in the oven.

Take advantage of all the health benefits pumpkin has to offer while it’s in season, and your body will thank you!