This week in the Fruit and Vegetable series we will look at the pumpkin. Many people tend to think of pumpkins as little more than just a Halloween decoration or a Thanksgiving pie filling, but maybe it is time to rethink this plump, nutritious orange plant.
Pumpkin is an extremely nutrient-dense food, meaning it is chock-full of vitamins and minerals but low in calories. Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like pumpkin decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality. One cup of pumpkin contains 49 calories, 2 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates (which includes 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of sugar). Pumpkin is high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C, which all support good heart health. Consuming adequate potassium is almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure)