Why the Pumpkin is Truly Great- Health Benefits

Every year without fail, the Peanuts’ Linus looks forward to seeing the Great Pumpkin. While in their world, this revered squash is a myth, in reality, there’s a lot of greatness about the pumpkin, especially for health and well-being.

Pumpkin is a large member of the squash (or Cucurbitaceae) family that also includes cantaloupes and cucumber, among others. There are numerous varieties of pumpkin, some solely for décor and others for eating. The pumpkin’s mild taste is not really sweet and just a touch savory, making it flexible for use in desserts as well as sides, salads, and soups.

Nutritional value of the pumpkin

Nutritionally, pumpkin is a powerhouse. It is low in calories, and is an excellent source of vitamin A, providing 246% RDA per serving, as well as B vitamins, minerals calcium, potassium, copper, and phosphorus, and it is a very robust source for the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

When scientists broke down various parts of a pumpkin to examine the nutritional content of each, they found that the flesh had the highest percentage of lutein content, with lutein also found in the seed and rind.

Pumpkin is a suitable food choice when managing weight -- it has only approximately 50 calories per cup, is rich in fiber and also in water (about 94%).

Author of a scientific study about pumpkin’s health benefits declare, “The pumpkin is one of the best vegetables that meet the requirements of healthy nutrition.” They specify that its carotenoids protect cells against damaging effects of free radicals called reactive oxygen species.

Healthy recipes with pumpkin

What’s fills the tummy and soul on a crisp autumn evening? Soup! Break out the tureen to fill it with creamy, delicious pumpkin-ginger soup:


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin purée
  • 3 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (11.5-ounce) can pear nectar
  • 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • Chopped chives (optional)


  1. In a 6-quart saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, chicken broth, and pear nectar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.

  2. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade, process 1 cup pumpkin mixture with peanut butter until smooth. Return to saucepan with the remaining pumpkin mixture. Add garlic, ginger root, green onion, lime juice, salt, and cayenne pepper; cook 10 minutes over medium heat.

  3. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and/or chopped chives

In the mornings, break your fast with a delicious, nutritious pumpkin smoothie:


1 can of pumpkin puree

1 frozen banana

2 cups milk

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • Place the pumpkin puree and banana in freezer bags; store in freezer for at least 24 hours.

  • Heat the bag of pumpkin puree in the microwave on HIGH to soften, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Pour the milk into a blender. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, banana, and pumpkin; blend until smooth.

Are pumpkin seeds good for you too?

When you cut open the pumpkin and see the inside festooned with white teardrop flat seeds, scoop them out and rinse them off. Set them aside for shelling and roasting.

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds also provide protein, minerals, and. For example, 100 g of pumpkin seeds deliver approximately 30 g of protein, 110% RDA of iron, 41% RDA niacin, 1% RDA selenium and 71% RDA zinc (71%).

Make your own pumpkin spice blend

It is also pumpkin spice season, but did you know that there is no pumpkin in pumpkin spice? It is a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger -- perfect to zing up the great gourd. Of course, you can purchase it ready made, but if you can make your own.

Whisk together:

  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cloves

When looking at using fresh pumpkin for meals, keep in mind that the giant ones may be fun, but not quite tasty. The small pumpkins are ideal for taste, texture and nutrition. Every part of the pumpkin is edible, and earlier in the season, its blossoms can be eaten raw, or lightly battered and fried in EVOO. All this is what makes the pumpkin great!

OMNITRIVIA: There really was a great pumpkin: the heaviest pumpkin on record weighed more than 2,600 pounds and was grown in Germany. (Source)