Pumpkin — My Kin
I will now tell you all about a fabulous vegetable dietary darling of my kitchen. Who will ever say no to a natural dietary component that is low in calories; has no saturated fat or cholesterol and at the same time offers dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals in abundance?
Yes, pumpkin is an excellent source of numerous flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants like leutin, xanthin, and carotenes. The list includes alpha and beta carotenes, cryptoxanthin and zea-xanthin. Carotenes are essential precursors for Vitamin A production.
Zea-xanthin has been shown to protect the eyes from harmful effects of ultra violet rays that are part of the natural sunlight. It acts in the retinal part of the eyes and hence, offers excellent protection against age-related macular disease that occurs due to retinal damage.
This Vitamin rich vegetable is a treasure house of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and E. The Vitamin B index includes folate, niacin, pyridoxine, thiamin and pantothenic acid. Vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol is a known antioxidant. Antioxidants help you to stay young.
Pumpkin is also a rich source of phenolic antioxidants like hydroxybenzoic acid, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, sinapic acid, protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid and syringic acid. Pumpkin seeds also contain numerous lignan antioxidants like pinoresinol, medioresinol, and lariciresinol.
Though pumpkin is a valuable source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, I am obliged to inform you that pumpkin seeds deserve a mention as an important source of iron, zinc and selenium apart from being valuable store houses of niacin and tryptophan. Iron is an integral part of our blood and essential for oxygen uptake during respiration.
Zinc is not only an immuno modulator that regulates the immune system but also essential for hormonal functions. Zinc boosts sexual function and helps combat stress. Selenium is a known antioxidant and essential component of the detoxifying mechanism in our body.
Current research studies have detected the role of pumpkin on insulin regulation and improvement of kidney function. The antimicrobial properties of the lignan phyto nutrients of pumpkin are also under active investigation.
In the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH), components in pumpkin seed oil are probably able to interrupt the prostate cell multiplication by testosterone and DHT(dihydrotestosterone), although the exact mechanism for this effect is still debatable. Equally open is the question of relationship between pumpkin seed oil extracts (which could be purchased as an over-the-counter dietary supplement) and pumpkin seeds themselves.
More about foods and drinks...