Now that spooktacular season is upon us, shops and food markets are full of beautiful pumpkins and squash.
Yet, while they remain the perfect fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit!) for carving out Jack-o-Lanterns, pumpkins are good for us, too - they even have myriad benefits for our hair.
If you have lots of leftover pumpkin or squash lying around after Halloween, then don’t bin it. Here’s why you should be using up any leftover pumpkin by piling your plates and your fridges high!
Boosts the Immune System
Pumpkins are rich in vitamin C and beta carotene (this is what gives them their vibrant orange colour), which the body converts to vitamin A. Scientists have shown that both vitamins A (which boosts our body’s “killer” cells to fight disease) and C are crucial in helping to support the immune system, meaning that pumpkin is perfect for fighting off colds and sniffles!
Supports Eye Health
That same beta carotene also means that pumpkin is good for our eye health, too! In fact, diets deficient in vitamin A have been linked to poor vision and even blindness.
Pumpkin is a fantastic source of minerals, including potassium and zinc. Potassium helps to keep our hair in great condition and also encourages re-growth, while zinc helps to maintain collagen levels. Pumpkin is also rich in folate, a B vitamin which is known to stimulate hair growth by boosting blood circulation.
Pumpkin is packed with vitamins C and E, as well as beta carotene, which are all important in forming healthy, glowing skin. Vitamin C isn’t actually made by the body, so it’s important we eat plenty of it. Since it plays a role in collagen production, it’s also crucial for skin health - collagen helps to keep skin looking plump and fresh - as well as for wound healing and even preventing bruising.
Meanwhile, the vitamin E content of pumpkin can help to prevent skin dryness and can even help to protect against sun damage.
Since pumpkins are such a brilliant source of fibre, they help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, all while keeping our digestive systems ticking along healthily. The high fibre content of pumpkins also helps to slow down your body’s absorption of carbs - including natural sugars - which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and balanced.
Improves Muscle Function
Pumpkins are also packed with potassium, which many of us are deficient in. Potassium is crucial for supporting healthy muscle function while - bonus! - pumpkin seeds are also rich in the muscle relaxing magnesium.