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Pumpkin/Sitaphal

Updated: July 26, 2014 4:44 pm

Pumpkin is one such vegetables that we usually overlook and pass on to buy other vegetables. But you will be amazed to know the health benefits it possesses. And definitely buy it on your next visit to the vegetable market. This vegetable too belongs to cucurbita family like cucumbers. If you cut open a pumpkin, it is hollow inside with seeds entwined in flesh.

Let us see how pumpkin helps our different organs

Eyes: Vitamin A in pumpkin aids in good eye sight. Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids such as beta-carotene that the body converts into Vitamin A for additional eye care. There are natural anti-oxidants which has ultra-violet rays filtering actions in the macula lutea in retina of the eyes. It helps protect from age related macular disease in the elderly.

Digestive system: The pumpkin flesh provides us dietary fiber and aids in digestion thereby preventing stomach disorders and constipation. Pumpkin keeps the digestive system in good condition and absorbs all other nutrients in the body.

Prostate cancer: Pumpkin and its seeds contains high levels of carotinoids and zinc. These compounds helps protect from prostate cancer. Free radical neutralising powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin can keep cancer cells at bay. The plant sterols in pumpkin seeds have also been linked to fight-off cancers.

Skin: The high levels of zinc, vitamins A, C and E provide synergetic healing virtues that are great for the skin. These free radical neutralising powers of the pumpkin helps keep the skin wrinkle free. Pumpkins contain highest levels of Vitamin A, which is required by the body for the maintenance of the integrity of the skin.

Cholesterol: Pumpkin seeds are naturally rich in certain plant- based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. It is also seen that these phytosterols are similar to human cholesterol that can replace and normalise the cholesterol levels in the body.

Muscles: Pumpkin boasts of nutrient potassium and it helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keep functioning of muscles at their best.

Immunity: Pumpkin is a great source of essential vitamins like A, E, C and iron that improves the immune system. A strong immune system will give resistance to various disease causing infections including coughs and colds.

Protects from dehydration: Pumpkin contains 90 per cent of water that can keep you hydrated for long.

Induces sleep: These seeds are rich in amino acids tryptophan that gives you good sleep. The amino acid is important in production of serotonin, one of the major players when it comes to our mood. A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds may help your outlook stay bright.

Heart: Arteries get blocked due to the accumulation of bad cholesterol. The fiber in pumpkin helps clear these blocks and prevent heart diseases. High carotenoid content in pumpkin makes it a heart healthy food. Consumption of low carotenoid food has been linked to heart disease.

Joint pains: Pumpkin seeds are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in treating arthritis and joint pains.

By Nibhanapudi Suguna

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