Pumpkin Everything! Surprising Health Benefits of the Superfood SquashBy Stephanie E - Jenny Craig Reviewed by Monica Ropar, Nutritionist Science-Backed
It’s finally time to put away your summer clothes and start pulling out your layers…because fall is officially here! And with every autumn leaf that hits the ground, it seems like there’s another pumpkin dish or drink on display. Luckily, pumpkin isn’t just delicious, it is actually a superfood. Check out these great reasons to enjoy more pumpkin this season!
Pumpkins are rich in fiber, which helps you to feel more full and satisfied. New, preliminary research even showed that fiber appears to benefit gut health by nurturing the good bacteria that live in our bodies.1 Plus, a single cup of pumpkin delivers almost 2 grams of protein, which also can contribute to feelings of fullness.2
When considering your next pumpkin purchase, be sure to buy fresh or unsweetened pureed pumpkin to avoid added sugars. Look for the smaller “sugar” pumpkins to get the best flavor. Large decorative pumpkins, like the ones used to carve jack-o’-lanterns, will often be stringy and bland. Fresh pumpkin is surprisingly versatile and can be added to soups, smoothies and oatmeal for a mildly sweet flavor enhancer.
Great source of amino acids & protein
Despite their small size, pumpkin seeds are packed with powerful nutrients. You’ll enjoy amino acids, protein and vitamins with every serving.3 Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, zinc and potassium, among other beneficial minerals.4 And with only 18 calories per tablespoon,5 a dash of seeds can add a tasty crunch to any meal, without hindering your weight loss goals. Just be sure to use a measuring spoon to keep the portion in check.
Balance your immune system
A pumpkin’s vibrant orange color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body turns into vitamin A.6 Not only is vitamin A beneficial for eye health, helping your retina absorb and process light, but it can also help your body fight harmful infections, potentially boosting your immune system.7
Support your skin’s health
While pumpkin will never replace sunscreen, some studies suggest that beta-carotene may help to prevent skin irritation caused by UV rays.8 What’s more, the vitamin C found in pumpkin may also promote a healthy complexion. Although beauty products containing vitamin C are popular, most topical applications can only reach surface layers of the skin. One of the best ways to experience vitamin C’s benefits is to consume it: Eating fruits and vegetables, like pumpkin, allow the vitamin to be absorbed into your bloodstream, where it can directly impact the deepest layers of skin.9
New research says it might help regulate blood glucose
Researchers are finding that active ingredients in pumpkins’ pulp and seeds may be the keys to developing new treatments for those with diabetes. In one test, pumpkin seeds showed hypoglycemic properties, which could eventually be used to help regulate blood glucose levels;10 however, more studies are needed to further these findings.
Enjoy a healthy seasonal treat
With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be looking for healthier alternatives to sugar-laden dishes. This succulent squash is versatile enough to be included in a variety of meals, while keeping you on track with your weight loss goals.
Pumpkin’s lightly sweet and mellow flavor adds a seasonal touch to any dish. It pairs wonderfully with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, so there’s no need to reach for high-calorie, artificially-flavored pumpkin products. Love pumpkin spice? Our limited-time Pumpkin Loaf is a delicious treat to indulge in the best fall flavors.
Are you ready to start improving your health in time for the holidays? Contact us to book a free appointment where you’ll meet with a personal weight loss consultant to discuss your goals.
If you are following the Rapid Results program, be sure to check with your consultant before making any modifications to your plan.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find Stephanie photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.
Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and fact-checked by Monica Ropar, Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
Edited by Stephanie E - Jenny Craig