Mummies, zombies, witches… are these all you see at the spooky yet funny festivals every October? Of course, there’s pumpkin, the eye-catching Halloween icon for check-ins and selfies. Sweet and soft in its unique way, it also appears on a wide range of menus either as a main dish or dessert. Besides, it’s rich in nutrients. Let’s take a closer look at this superfood that does wonders to our taste buds and health.
Carotene for eyes and skin protection
Pumpkin is rich in carotene in which lutein can absorb the blue light released from electronic monitors, such as those in mobile phones and computers, and help prevent macular degeneration. Further, carotene will turn into vitamin A after it enters our body and becomes an antioxidant to prevent free radicals from harming the eyes, protecting our eyesight. Other benefits include slowing down skin ageing, balancing sebum secretion and keeping our skin healthy. Pumpkin also provides vitamin C and potassium. The former helps synthesise collagen to create resilient and moist skin whereas the latter helps prevent high blood pressure and relieve edema.
Low-calorie and high-fibre
Pumpkin is also rich in carbohydrate but low in calorie, containing about 49kcal per 100g, which is a more ideal staple food¹ than sweet potato (109kcal) or potato (77kcal). Moreover, it’s loaded with fibre that promotes intestinal peristalsis and defecation, and slows down the surge of blood sugar level after meals. But diabetics should be aware that the amount of carbohydrates in a bowl of pumpkin is 1/3 of that of rice, and should do the math before eating them together to control blood sugar level².
Pumpkin seeds for prostate protection
Besides the flesh, pumpkin seeds are also a source of nutrients. They contain unsaturated fatty acid, zinc, magnesium and other minerals that help maintain a healthy prostate and stabilise blood sugar level. We can also consume salt-free roasted pumpkin seeds as a healthy snack or add them to salads or bakeries.
Halloween is just round the corner, so why don’t we follow the recipe of the Department of Health and prepare a delectable, nutrient-packed pumpkin soup³:
Pumpkin and tomato soup with red lentils (4 servings)
Red lentils: 200g
Thyme: Moderate amount
Olive oil: ½ teaspoon
Source: Yahoo Hong Kong x AXA LIVE/LIFE website
¹ Headline News (Chinese version only)
² MingPao News (Chinese version only)
³ Recipes of “Pumpkin and Tomato Soup with Red Lentils” :