By Chelsea Chang | Blogger | SQ Online (2014-15)
Yup, it’s that exciting time of the year again where everything — every decoration in your apartment, every hot drink and every leaf on the tree — (supposedly) turns various shades of orange!
So, what are some foods and snacks that come to your mind when you think about autumn? Hm … Pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice lattes (so overrated, Starbucks!), toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin dips to go with with pumpkin cookies … SO MUCH PUMPKIN! Not to be unfair to other season musts like apple cider and roasted sweet potatoes, but pumpkins are just especially prevalent during this cozy time of year! In addition, they actually have a wide range of physiological benefits that go beyond their creamy taste and their flexibility to become decor items (seriously, some things are just born to be automatic center pieces).
Here are four reasons why pumpkins, needless to say, are the boss of autumn.
1. Pumpkins Have Essential Micronutrients
Wow, didn’t see that coming! Does that mean your pumpkin spice latte addiction is actually good for you? Um, probably not, but pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for vision; their bright orange color results from an abundance of carotenoids, pigment compounds and potent antioxidants that not only boost the immune system but can be converted into vitamin A¹! In addition, over the past couple of decades, researchers focused on the medical properties of pumpkins have credited them with antidiabetic, antitumor, antibacterial, antiinflammatory² and much more effects. Incredible, right?
2. Pumpkins Can Make You Feel Happy
Not just because you carved an intricate Pikachu pumpkin last Saturday night or threw some pumpkins from the top floor of the Social Science Building because midterms are stressful. Biochemically speaking, pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan, which forms serotonin³, the neurotransmitter that is commonly regarded as a contributor to good feelings and happiness. So yeah, pumpkins are like Santa Claus or something but for fall.
3. You Can Take a Bath in Pumpkins
Okay, so for all the skin care addicts out there, pumpkins are very good for your skin! Vitamins A, E and C and additional hydrating minerals, such as zinc, copper, magnesium and potassium, can keep the wrinkles at bay⁴; there are actual pharmaceutical companies that make botanic products with these natural resources. Pumpkins are especially good for more extreme climates, such as the mountains and the desert. So the next time you go hiking, don’t forget to bring a bottle of pumpkin mist with you; it will refresh you on the way to adventures! Also, there are some pumpkin products that you can make at home: hair conditioners, facial masks, body moisturizers, facial peels and even exfoliating scrubs⁵! Here is a link that can direct you to another level of seasonal pampering: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/pumpkin-beauty-benefits_n_4097301.html
4. Pumpkins Have Benefits for Men’s Health
Listen up, fellas. You want pumpkins, oh yes you do! Here is why, even though your mom or dad should also have informed you about this important fact — pumpkins are good for prostate health due to their zinc content, which is very essential in the prostate gland⁶. Prostate health is crucial for reproduction because the prostate gland produces seminal fluids and nourishes sperm. In addition, prostate cancer is not only the most common cancer in American males, but it also doesn’t show any signs in early stages, so start eating pumpkins now and don’t forget to have regular prostate exams. Leave no regrets!
So there you have it! Four reasons why pumpkins are valuable not only to autumn, but also to our health and well-being! Next time (or sometime this month when) you walk into a Trader Joe’s and your eyes are attracted by the beauty and diversity of pumpkins, remember how rad and awesome they are!
- Ipatenco, Sara. “What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkin Puree?”Healthy Eating. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
- Fu, Caili, Huan Shi, and Quanhong Li. “A Review on Pharmacological Activities and Utilization Technologies of Pumpkin – Springer.” A Review on Pharmacological Activities and Utilization Technologies of Pumpkin – Springer. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 01 June 2006. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.
- Klein, Sarah. “8 Impressive Health Benefits Of Pumpkin.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 04 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
- Mercola, Dr. “9 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
- Oliver, Dana. “5 Surprising Uses For Pumpkin (None Of Which Are Lattes).”The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.