Most people think of pumpkins as just a Halloween decoration or a filling for pies on Thansksgiving. But, it may be time to rethink this plump and nutritious orange plant.
Pumpkin is known to be a highly nutrient-dense food. It is loaded in minerals and vitamins, but low in calories. Pumpkin leaves, seeds and its juices are loaded with powerful nutritional punch.
There are various ways pumpkin can be incorporated into soups, desserts, preserves, salads, and even as a substitute for butter.
How Can Pumpkin Help in the Treatment of Diabetes?
Scientific tests, showed that pumpkin can help reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces. The plant compounds in the pulp and pumpkin seeds are good for helping the absorption of glucose into the intestines, tissues, and balancing levels of liver glucose.
Pumpkin may be linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but this effect is not consistently demonstrated. But, the compounds have an impact that researchers suggest that they could be re-worked into an anti-diabetic medication, although further studies are needed.
When your body has low insulin secretion, this will also affect the lipid, carbohydrate and protein metabolism along. Studies have shown that there is an oxidative stress that is due to the metabolic disorder.
Therefore, providing antioxidants is considered as a therapeutic approach in the treatment of diabetes. Since pumpkin is a good antioxidant, therefore, it is good for diabetics.
2. Carbohydrate Content
The serving of carbohydrates for a diabetic is 15 grams, according to Livestrong. Each cup of cooked, mashed and fresh pumpkin contains about 12 grams of carbohydrates, including 2.7 grams of fiber. One cup of canned pumpkin puree contains 19.8 grams of carbohydrates and 7.1 grams of fiber.
Part of this fiber consists of soluble fiber, which can help slow the emptying of the stomach and the releasing of sugars into your bloodstream. This makes it easier to avoid spikes in your blood sugar levels.
3. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index can help in estimating how much a food is likely to increase your blood sugar levels. Foods that have high scores over 70 contains more potential to cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, as compared to those with a low score under 55.
Pumpkin has a Glycemic Index (GI) score of 75. This is not the best measure of the effect of pumpkin on blood sugar, but, because it is based on a portion containing 50 grams of carbohydrate.
While the glycemic load, takes the carbohydrate content of a serving of food into account, and its glycemic index, with scores under 10 considered low. Using this tool, pumpkin will not likely cause blood sugar spikes, because it has a low glycemic load of 3.
4. Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is used to control diabetes mellitus. This is done by simulating insulin in a diabetic patient.
Vitamin C is a good source for simulating insulin in the body. When this is administered orally, this can help control diabetes. Due to is high vitamin C content, we can say that is pumpkin good for diabetics.
Pumpkin for Cancer Prevention
Pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which plays a big role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Food sources of beta-carotene may help more as compared to supplements, according to the NIH. This is an even more reason to eat some pumpkin today.
Beta-carotene, the pigment that is responsible for the bright red-orange color of pumpkin, is a powerful immunostimulant, which is a substance that activates the immune system.
Studies have shown that beta-carotene may give your body a cancer-fighting boost by preventing DNA damage, slowing cancer growth, or even enhancing the enzymes that clear cancer-causing substances from the body. Also, the carotenoid also accounts for more than 80% of the antioxidants in a serving of pumpkin.
Among the many healthy carotenoids present in pumpkin, alpha-carotene has direct anticarcinogenic activity. Studies suggest that it is a more potent cancer inhibitor as comapred to beta-carotene.
Lutein and lycopene, antioxidant carotenoids found in orange and yellow fruit, are also known to protect other bodily systems.
Pumpkin is a good source of fiber. A study showed that those who consumed the most dietary fiber had a 11% lower risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. This is compared to those who consumed the least.