Why it’s a superfood?
- High in Vitamins A and C, fiber, manganese, potassium and antioxidants.
As potent antioxidants, carotenoids help prevent diseases in which oxidative damage plays a role, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. A 2009 study reported that women with the highest levels of alpha-carotene, lutein, and beta-cryptoxanthin had as much as a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk.
Making the most of Pumpkins
During boiling, vitamin C seeps into the water, so baking and roasting are preferable. Microwaving in little water is another good option. The carotenoid antioxidants, however, are not lost in cooking liquid.
Canned Pumpkin can be an excellent choice. In fact, the canning process increases the concentration of carotenoids. Add canned pumpkin to soups, stews, or even natural yoghurt.
Picking the best Pumpkin
Deep orange pigmentation is one of the best identifiers of beta-carotene content, and these foods live up to their colourful appearance. All varieties of winter squash contain beta-carotene, though pumpkin and butternut are superior to all other varieties.
The pumpkin is an incredibly nutritious food. It is nutrient dense, meaning it has a lot of vitamins and minerals and relatively low in calories. A real bang-for-buck food.
One cup (mashed, 245g) of pumpkin provides:
- Calories: 49
- Protein: 2g
- Carbohydrate: 12g
- Fibre: 3g
- Vitamin K: 49% of RDI
- Vitamin C: 19% of RDI
- Potassium: 16% of RDI
- Copper, manganese and riboflavin: 11% of RDI
- Vitamin E: 10% of RDI
- Iron: 8% of RDI
- Folate: 6% of RDI
- Niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and thiamin: 5% of RDI
As discussed earlier, Pumpkin is also exceptionally high in beta-carotene, a power anti-oxidant. Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid that converts into Vitamin A within the body.