Pumpkin feast! It is Halloween time and with the "trick" we can get a "healthy treat"!
Pumpkin are a unique cocktail of healthy anti-oxidants nutrients with powerful anti-cancerous properties: Carotenoids, Fenolic acid, Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
Carotenoids are a phytonutrient that like for carrots and apricots, give pumpkins their characteristic orange color. They are contained in pumpkins at high levels and they turn into Vitamin A in our body, neutralizing free radicals, hazardous molecules that can attack cell membranes and leave the cells vulnerable to damage. Vitamin A is also a known immune booster and helps against allergies. A diet delivering optimal levels of vitamins A is shown to protect against various kinds of cancer (lungs, esophagus, colon, stomach) and to help reduce incidence of cataracts, cardiovascular disease.
Fenolic acid is another healthy nutrient contained in pumpkins. It delivers a powerful synergistic effect with carotenoids by slowing down the absorption of cancerous agents, hence reducing their potential dangerous effects.
Special ingredients Lutein and Zeaxanthin are anti-oxidants as well, creating a powerful mix together with Vitamin A to deliver a true top notch anti-oxidant cocktail. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are naturally occurring compounds found in large amounts in the lens and retina of our eyes where they prevent retina damages caused by free radicals attack to healthy tissue.
Some Useful Data
A cup of cooked pumpkin has only 50 calories and nearly three grams of fiber! What a perfect healthy addition to our autumn meal. Recent research also suggest that the oil extracted from pumpkin seeds can inhibit benign prostate growth. Trick or Healthy Treat?
Nutrition Breakdown per 1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, and mashed pumpkin:
Calories: 49 calories
Fat: 0.17 grams
Fiber: 2.7 grams (11 percent* DRI**)
Vitamin A: 612 mcg*** (87 percent DRI)
Vitamin C: 11.5 mg (15 percent DRI)
Beta-carotene: 5135 mcg
Potassium: 564 mg (12 percent of DRI)
*Percentages are for women 31 to 50 years old
**DRI, Dietary Recommended Intakes
***Based on a conversion of 1 mcg retinol activity equivalents = 12 mcg of beta-carotene