While it can be considered a vegetable, pumpkin is a large fruit from the Cucurbitaceae family and is native to North America. There are considerable varieties of fruit and their nutritional contents depend on the cultivated environment.
The health benefits of this versatile fruit include helping to reduce swelling, cooling down fever, helping with digestion, and eliminating bile. In this article we will give you an insight of what is Pumpkin in Jamaica.
The pumpkin seeds also contain essential fatty acids that help to maintain healthy blood vessels, nerves, and tissue. It also has antidiabetic, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
What Is Pumpkin In Jamaica
Pumpkin is a fruit defined as being part of the plant which contains seeds. An average size pumpkin contains about a cup of seeds which correctly classified them as a fruit.
They come in varieties of shapes and colors. The most popular types in Jamaica are the green, yellow, and multicolored varieties. They can either be round, huge pear-shaped, necked, smooth or even warty and are fabulous for their culinary exploits.
Pumpkins are very popular on the Island as they are cultivated as staples for eating and as an agricultural produce. The fruit is prepared in various ways, but more so popular is the soup which many households love to consume.
Pumpkin is also eaten as a breakfast staple and many health-conscious individuals incorporate it as a means to loosing weight.
Pumpkin is also blended into drinks and it deeply revered by some as a power punch. (adopted by the rastafarian religion). Mixed with vegetable such as okra, it also contains stouts, milk, spices, nuts, and seeds, and is indeed a very refreshing drink.
Why Pumpkin Is A Superfood
Pumpkin is considered a superfood as the reduced risk of many lifestyle-related conditions has long been associated with consuming fruits and vegetables and pumpkin is high on the list of fruits.
It is evidenced by numerous studies that increasing the consumption of plant foods like pumpkin decreases the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increases energy, and controls weight gain.
Pumpkin is an extremely nutrient-dense food packed with vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. It is one of the best-known sources of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that gives the fruit its vibrant orange color which is converted to vitamin A in the body.
In addition, consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of cancer, offer protection against asthma, and heart disease, and slows down aging and body degeneration.
Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
. Pumpkin is highly nutritious and is rich in vitamin A. It has an impressive profile reporting that one cup of cooked pumpkin contains 245 grams.
The amino acids can help with digestibility and besides being packed with vitamins and minerals, it is low in calories as it is 94% water.
Pumpkin is also very high in beta-carotene, a-carotenoid that your body turns into vitamin A. Moreover, the seeds are edible, and nutritious and are linked to numerous health benefits.
The antioxidants present in pumpkin can help with free radicals produced by the body’s metabolic process. They are highly unstable and have useful roles such as destroying harmful bacteria.
When excessive free radicals are present in the body it creates oxidative stress which is linked to chronic illness, including heart disease and cancer.
Pumpkin contains antioxidants such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin which can neutralize free radicals and stop them from damaging the body cells.
Invitro and animal studies have shown that these antioxidants protect the skin against sunlight damage, and reduce the risk of cancer, eye disease, and other conditions. More studies are needed in order to validate these claims.
Some notable health benefits of consuming pumpkin are listed:-
High Blood Pressure
Eating pumpkin is good for the heart as the fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content will support heart health. Consuming adequate potassium is as important as decreasing sodium intake for treating high blood pressure.
The increase in potassium intake is also associated with reducing the risk of stroke, giving protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reducing the formation of kidney stones.
Beta-carotene lowers the risk of prostate cancer, It is also believed to have counter effects on the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.
The antioxidant vitamin C, E, and A, and beta-carotene have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.
For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant-rich foods such as pumpkin, beans, spinach, beet, and tomatoes can help to promote fertility. The vitamin A in pumpkin is essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.
Plant foods like pumpkin which are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene can aid in boosting the immune system due to their powerful concentration of nutrients.
Pumpkin was used in culinary exploits dating back to 7000 to 5000 BC and is still popular today in all parts of the globe.
Is Pumpkin Good For Weight Loss
People are concerned about changing their diets in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle or to reduce overweight. Pumpkin is the best choice to incorporate into your diet for lifestyle changes.
They are very versatile in their usage for cooking Most parts of the pumpkin can be eaten including the fleshy shell, seeds, leaves, and even the flowers.
Mature pumpkins can be boiled, baked, steamed, roasted, or pureed and made into pies. The flesh and seeds are rich in proteins, antioxidants, vitamins such as carotenoids, tocopherols, and minerals Moreover, it is low in fats and calories which is good for weight loss.
Beta-carotene reduces damage to the skin that is exposed to the sun and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. a-carotene is believed to slow down the aging process, reduce the risk of developing cataracts, and prevent tumor growth.
Vitamin E (tocopherols) protects the cell from oxidative damage by preventing the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids in the cell membrane.
Pumpkin seeds are often eaten as a snack and are good sources of zinc, and polyunsaturated fatty acids which can prevent chronic diseases
It has been reported in studies done that pumpkin can benefit the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia because of its high b-sitosterol content which has been indicated to reduce blood cholesterol and decrease the certain risk of cancer.
The overall takeaway is that pumpkin contains the general nutrient composition which includes amino acids, fatty acids, and specific bioactive nutrients including tocopherols, carotenoids, and b-sitosterol
Pumpkins are cooked and consumed in many ways and most or all parts can be eaten. The flesh is a staple in soups and various other dishes such as pumpkin rice in Jamaica or simply as a breakfast staple. The seeds are great for snacks and aiding in weight loss.
I hope this article adds value to reading. If you have a question or comment you may drop them in the box below and I will be more than happy to help you out.