Some Devilishly Good Facts about Pumpkins.
- They’re not vegetables; they’re fruit and have been around for 5,000 years.
- They’re native to Central America and Mexico.
- In 1584, a French explorer called them, ‘gros melons’ translated into English as ‘pompions’. They started getting referred to as pumpkins in the 17th century.
- Before pumpkins were used for Halloween, the Irish used to decorate turnips and potatoes with scary faces, to frighten away a character called, ‘Stingy Jack’ who, according to legends, roamed the earth after his death. Irish immigrants brought this practice to the U.S. where it was adapted to pumpkins.
- They are grown on every continent, apart from Antarctica, unsurprisingly!
- There are more than 45 varieties and can come in colours of red, yellow and green, as well as orange. Have names including ‘Hooligan’, ‘Cotton Candy’ and ‘Orange Smoothie.’
- Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds.
- The World’s heaviest pumpkin weighed over 2,600 pounds in Germany in 2016.
- The World’s largest pumpkin pie that was baked weighed a spooktacular 3,699 pounds!
Health Benefits that will Blow the Cobwebs Away.
Pumpkins contain 90% of water, so good to eat if you’re trying to lose weight.
They can help to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
May protect against loss of sight. Pumpkins contain an antioxidant called, ‘beta-carotene’. Studies have shown that higher intakes of beta-carotene in our diets can significantly lower the risk of us developing cataracts.
May lower your risk of developing chronic diseases. Beta-carotene and other antioxidants in pumpkins can neutralise the free radicals, witch damage your cells.
Helps to support your immune system. As well as beta-carotene, pumpkins contain high amounts of vitamins C & E, iron and folate witch may strengthen your immune system.
May lower your risk of developing cancer. Studies have shown that people who have higher intakes of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, had significantly lower risks of stomach cancer. Other studies have found that people that eat foods with high levels of carotenoids have lower risks of developing throat, pancreas, breast and other cancers.
May help to protect your heart. Pumpkins are high in potassium, vitamin C and fibre witch are all linked with heart benefits. The other antioxidants may help to prevent the ‘bad’ or ‘LDL’ cholesterol from blocking your blood vessels and increasing your risk of heart disease.
May help to prevent and control diabetes. In a 2019 study, a combination of plant extracts, witch included pumpkin polysaccharides, lowered blood sugar levels in mice.
Also, pumpkin seeds, because of their zinc and protein content, help to support your post-workout recovery.
So, pumpkins are more than just a fruit, where you carve out a scary face.
When you have finished with your pumpkin(s), please don’t just throw away. You can roast the seeds in spices that you may like, for example, chillies. You could make pumpkin soup and finally if you have a garden, you can leave out pumpkins for your local wildlife and birds to eat.
Sources: good housekeeping.com, beachbodyondemand.com, thefactsite.com, realsimple.com, history.com, bbcgoodfood.com, healthline.com, medicalnewstoday.com, womanshealthmag.com