Pumpkins are a staple feature of Halloween, but this vegetable has more uses than you can imagine and is a power food that can heal your body. Pumpkin is one of the widely grown vegetables that is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins. Although, less in calories (which makes it great for weight loss), this vegetable contains vitamin A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthine, and carotenes in abundance. This is good news for me, as my ophthalmologist had recommended that I take in more Lutein for my eye health. I would no longer be walking past them when I visit the market.

Pumpkin is a good source of vitamins A, C, E and the B vitamins and dietary fiber. Mineral wise, it’s rich with potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, sodium and zinc. Potassium, a refueling nutrient, helps restore the body's balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

Pumpkin is one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant known to give orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color and which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration. Vitamin A is a powerful natural antioxidant and is required by the body for maintaining good skin and is also an essential vitamin for good visual sight

Pumpkin seeds, also edible, are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health. In addition, the seeds are concentrated sources of protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins. Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

With all of these benefits, be sure not to just carve your pumpkins next time, but eat them!

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