Pumpkin is the spooky root vegetable we’re more likely to carve and place on a windowsill at Halloween than enjoy for dinner. Despite being an underappreciated autumn ingredient in the UK, cooking with pumpkin is becoming more popular, thanks to its popularity in American cuisine.
If you ask us, the more people eating pumpkin, the better. Around eight million pumpkins end up in the bin after Halloween, a tragedy as they’re packed full of healthy vitamin A and C, alongside other minerals.1,2
In this article, we’ll go through all pumpkin’s health benefits. Then, we’ll break down pumpkin’s nutritional profile, so you can see for yourself how jam-packed with goodness it is. Finally, we’ll suggest why you might want to avoid pumpkin.
Pumpkin health benefits
Pumpkins are rich in health benefits, including:
High antioxidant content
Oxidative stress is connected to an increased risk of developing age-related diseases.3 Pumpkins are positively bursting with potent antioxidants, which help reduce oxidative stress throughout the body.4
May preserve eye health
Pumpkin contains two potent antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are strongly associated with good eye health throughout life.5 Pumpkins also contain vitamin A, and vitamin A deficiencies are associated with blindness, suggesting that the vitamin has a protective effect.6
Supports weight loss
Pumpkins only contain 50 calories per 250g portion, which means that you can enjoy more of this delicious carbohydrate than equivalent starches like rice and potatoes, without taking in the same amount of calories.7
Supports skin health
Pumpkins contain beta-carotene, which scientific studies show helps to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.8 They’re also rich in vitamin C which encourages collagen development to give the skin a youthful, supple look.9
Pumpkin nutrition facts
A 205g portion of pumpkin contains10:
|Vitamin A||Vitamin C||Vitamin B6||Fibre|
|% of RDA||59%||26%||19%||21%|
- Vitamin A helps support normal functioning of the immune system11
- Vitamin C maintains the health of bones, skin and blood vessels12
- Vitamin B6 helps blood cells transport oxygen in the body13
- Fibre helps to support normal digestive health and transit by encouraging healthy gut bacteria to develop14
When to avoid pumpkins
You may be surprised that some people should avoid pumpkins, considering how powerfully nutritious they are. However, there are some circumstances when you’re best skipping a pumpkin pie or risotto.
Pumpkins are a diuretic, which means they increase the amount you urinate and the minerals you lose via urination.15 Diuretics are known to impact the body’s ability to handle specific medications, including Lithium, as it reduces the body’s ability to expel lithium.16 If you’re on medication, only consider incorporating pumpkin into your diet after consultation with your doctor.
Last updated: 16 March 2021