It seems like Halloween 2018 is straddling two weekends as well as the day itself on Wednesday. And this means more pumpkin carving than ever! But what becomes of all the leftover pumpkins once they are hollowed out? Hopefully it is not discarded as there is great nutrition in pumpkins!
Of course Halloween is all about the scooping out and the carving and creating and spooky lantern, and little thought might be given to the contents of an amazing vegetable that, at this time of year, becomes a chilling prop rather than something to eat. I know the kids are not thinking of it as food and probably most adults too!
So let’s take a look at what a pumpkin is really made up of…
Nutrition in Pumpkins
Pumpkins are a huge source of Vitamin A which is vital for a number of things and works on two levels – Preformed and Provitamin A. Preformed (Active) is absorbed by the body and used as it is. This is often found in meats, fish and dairy.
Provitamin A (Inactive) is converted by the body into an active form and are found in plants – hence pumpkins!
Eye health is a major beneficiary of vitamin A. In fact one of the major signs of Vitamin A deficiency is night blindness.
Reduced risk of cancer. Vitamin A promotes the growth of healthy cells, encourages free radicals and it is thought this can aid defenses against certain types of cancer.
Bolsters and helps maintain a healthy immune system.
Promotes bone health and growth rates.
Important for healthy reproduction.
Additional vitamins include: C, D, E, K, B6 and B12, as well as thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. While minerals prevalent in a pumpkin include: potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorous, manganese and zinc.
The fact this vegetable is low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol adds to the benefits.
A Grade A Vegetable!
In fact a leading Nutrition Data site, analyzing every detailed aspect of a pumpkin’s makeup, rates the vegetable with 5 stars out of 5 for both weight loss and optimum health and an overall all score of 85%.
These facts and figures alone prove that a pumpkin should not be just for Halloween, but a regular visitor to our tables and plates.
They do a magnificent job of being spooky and creating the perfect Halloween atmosphere, but nutrition in pumpkins should not be overlooked!
A final pumpkin fact…
The idea of hollowing out and carving a vegetable and placing a candle inside goes back hundreds of years to Ireland and is to do with the legend of a character called Jack O’Lantern. But the Irish used turnips for this tradition which are not the easiest vegetable to cut and chop at the best of times.
When they started to move the ‘New World’ and populate America, they discovered this new native vegetable that was large and a striking orange colour. It was also that was so much easier to work with than a turnip!
Connect here with WatchFit expert Ina Gutowska