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Pumpkin

PUMPKIN 

Pumpkin is a type of orange winter squash. While it is commonly known as a vegetable, it is scientifically considered a fruit since it contains seeds. Botanically, this belongs to the berry family because of its hard shell called "berry amour."

It is perhaps the oldest domesticated plant on Earth. According to Cindy Ott, an American studies professor and author of Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon, evidence suggested that people cultivated pumpkins as early as 10,000 B.C.

TYPES OF PUMPKIN

The Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Hawaii at Mano published in 1987 a Horticulture--Oahu County Leaflet specified the types of pumpkins found in Hawaii. 

These are the types of pumpkins:

  • Cucurbita pepo, which includes Connecticut Field and Small Sugar
  • Cucurbita maxima include Big Max, Hubbard, and Buttercup
  • Cucurbita moschata like Butternut squash

Winter Luxury has a thick, creamy, sweet, golden-yellow flesh that is perfect for pies. Small Sugar, Butternut, and Hubbard Squash can also be made for pumpkin pies to darken their flesh color and produce a delectable flavor. 

Young's Beauty, Connecticut Field, Big Moon, Big Tom, Big Max, and Mammoth are perfect for making jack-o-lantern for Halloween. Their flesh is also preferable for pies.

MEDICINAL VALUES

Pumpkin is linked with a lot of health benefits that it can offer. It is rich in beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that gives its orange, vibrant color. Once consumed, the body then converts the beta-carotene into Vitamin A.

A few of the health benefits that beta-carotene offers are:

  • Lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that affects the retina. 
  • Reduced risk of developing cancer
  • Protection against asthma and heart disease
  • Prevention and controlling diabetes

HEALTH BENEFITS

The United State Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central database posits that a cup or 245 grams of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin, without salt, contains, 

  • 1.76g of protein
  • 2.7g of fiber
  • 49 calories
  • 0.17g of fat
  • 0g of cholesterol
  • 12g of carbohydrate

Pumpkin is also infused with a lot of vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Magnesium

This fruit is also best for people on a diet because 94% of it is water. It is rich in fiber that helps curb your appetite, slows in sugar absorption, and promotes regular bowel movements.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS

Apart from its fruits being used as a vegetable, the seeds are processed to become the nutty-smelling green pumpkin seed oil. Such oil also offers various health benefits like relieving symptoms of menopause, increasing HDL or good cholesterol, improving the urinary tract system, and others. 

Pumpkin seed oil can:

  • Boost mood and ward off depression, based on the results of the study from the British Journal of Psychiatry
  • Aid in hair growth, especially on men
  • Promote a healthy heart because it is an unsaturated fat
  • Relieve symptoms of menopause
  • Improve the urinary tract

PRECAUTIONS

Pumpkin is known to be a safe food, and side effects are rare. There is little to no studies pinpointing the adverse effects of consuming pumpkin and/or using pumpkin seed oil. However, health experts and dieticians suggest always stay on the safe side and consume only the usual food amounts. 



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