Squashes and Pumpkin
Pumpkin is incredibly rich in vital anti-oxidants and vitamins. This
humble backyard vegetable is very low in calories yet good source of
vitamin A, flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants like leutin, xanthins and
Health benefits of Pumpkin
It is one of the vegetables which is very low calories; provides just 26
cal per 100 g and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; but is rich a
source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. Recommended by
dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
Pumpkin is a storehouse of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A,
vitamin-C and vitamin-E.
With 7384 mg per 100 g, it is one of the vegetable in the cucurbitaceae
family with highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 246% of RDA.
Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by body for
maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an
essential vitamin for vision. Natural foods rich in vitamin A helps body
protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.
It is also an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid
compoundes like alpha and beta carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein and
zeaxanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body. Zea-xanthin
is a natural anti-oxidant which has UV (ultra-violet) rays filtering
actions in the macula lutea in reitina of the eyes. Thus, it helps protect
from "age related macular disease" (ARMD) in the elderly.
Rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6
(pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. It is also rich source of
minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Winter squash, like other richly colored vegetables, provide an excellent
source of carotenes. They also offer a very good source of vitamins B1 and
C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, fiber, and potassium. Winter squash are
also a good source of vitamin B6 and niacin. Due to their carotene
properties, winter squash exert a protective effect against many cancers,
particularly lung cancer. Diets that is rich in carotenes (especially
pumpkins) offer protection against cancer, heart disease, and type 2
diabetes. Since summer squash have high water content, they are not as
nutrient-dense as the winter varieties. Summer squash still provide several
nutritional benefits. They are low in calories and provide a decent amount
of vitamin C, potassium, and carotenes. Juice made from summer squash is
equal to juice made from pumpkins, leeks, and radishes in their ability to
prevent cell mutations. Summer squash are especially beneficial during the
summer months due to their higher water content. They protect against
dehydration and the carotenes help to protect against the damaging effects
of the sun.