Our Ross Township dentist team would like to welcome you to fall … the season for everything pumpkin! Do you see pumpkin patches popping up left and right? Are there pumpkins at the entrance of the market? Now’s a great opportunity to explore adding pumpkin to your diet. The supply is ripe and there are a plethora of ways to add this superfood into your usual food routines. This gourd of the Cucurbitaceae vine is a fruit, full of nutrients. The edible seeds are also a great addition to a healthy diet. We’ll go over some reasons our Ross Township dentist suggests adding pumpkin to your diet this season:
Supply is High
Since before 5500 BC, pumpkins have supplied the Mayan and Aztec tribes with nutrients. Sometime between then and the 1500s, they made their way from Central America into Europe, where recipes show them in savory and sweet pies. What we refer to as The First Thanksgiving here in the states is often described as the early colonists and Wampanoag tribe sharing their harvest, including pumpkin. In 1863, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, further establishing this gourd fruit into our culture. Pumpkins are so intertwined with this holiday and Halloween, that a town in Connecticut postponed their Thanksgiving due to a molasses shortage. The supply of molasses was not enough to meet the upcoming demand for pumpkin pies! In 1929, pumpkins were introduced on the market in cans, which we still see today year-round. Fresh or canned… there are so many sources for pumpkin inspiration.
These superfoods and their seeds are packed with Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E, among other things. The beta-carotene (think orange-colored) is a precursor for Vitamin A, which supports healthy reproduction, vision, and immune system. It helps your body fight infection that could otherwise lead to cavities. The B-complex vitamins provide a good source of energy and support healthy gums by fighting against gum disease. Vitamin C (and its collagen protein) protect your skin from harmful UVs and support healthy skin. The combined efforts of Vitamins C and E neutralize free radicals, which helps prevent cancer (like oral cancer). They also provide antioxidants that prevent aging. Vitamin E, iron, and folate also support a healthy immune system, which prevents gum disease and gingivitis.
Rich in Minerals
If you have an active lifestyle (ideally, this would be everyone), you’re losing electrolytes quickly through your blood, sweat, and tears. Consider replacing those electrolytes with pumpkin, which has far more potassium than bananas do. Potassium supports muscle contraction, digestion, healthy blood pressure, water balance, and healthy blood pressure. Calcium and potassium together supports strong teeth.
Recommended by Dieticians
Dieticians often recommend pumpkin for the nutrients they provide, with the cost of only 50 calories per cup. This is an outstanding tradeoff! Not only do they have a low caloric intake, but they provide a lot of water, about 94%. This is near the amount of water our bodies are comprised of. Adding fresh water to your body is a great diuretic, and helps flush away toxins. The water in pumpkins helps you increase insulin, improve glucose tolerance, reduce blood glucose levels. All of those together help you manage food cravings to maintain a healthy weight.
So Many Choices
Your oral health and health as a whole depends on your routines and good choices. Our Ross Township dentist encourages healthy choices like pumpkin, just as he encourages brushing and flossing frequently. While there are many opportunities for adding pumpkin to your diet, in baked goods and coffee that use syrups, remember that these sugary options don’t provide the same health benefits that the fruit or the seeds do. Rather, they add sweeteners and additional calories. Indulge in moderation while pumpkin is on the menu if you choose to. Remember to brush and floss extra after these sweet treats to prevent any cavities or plaque from building up. Better yet, consider roasting pumpkins to receive the health benefits without adding to your waistline.