Pumpkin has prebiotics and other beneficial plant compounds that make it a rising star in investigations for diabetes and other inflammatory conditions. The dried pulp is being considered in the treatment of diabetes. It definitely has more uses than just jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pie! Some researchers recommend pumpkin for daily consumption.
Pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbita pepo species, the group of squashes commonly known as summer and winter squashes.
Pumpkin is predominantly complex carbohydrate, with very little protein and fat. It is a fantastic source of carotenoids, which are antioxidants and vitamin A precursors. The main carotenoid is beta-carotene, but lutein, lycopene, alpha-carotene and cis-beta-carotene have also been found. Pumpkin contains minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium (20-40 mg/0.5 cup) and magnesium.
Pumpkin contains approximately 3 g of fiber per 0.5 cup. Pumpkin has prebiotics that make it suitable for use in the development of a fermented pumpkin-based water kefir beverage, which has abundant Lactobacillus bacteria. It is also used as a fermentation substrate in wines and beer. Pumpkin has prebiotics such as xylitol and complex polysaccharides, which are broken down distribute into monosaccharides such as mannose, glucose, xylose, fucose, and ribose, among others. As previously mentioned, it also has carotenoids, some of which have prebiotic effects.
Pumpkin has prebiotics to help beneficial microbes populate, but its extracts also have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties against pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and Giardia.
Investigations have found that pumpkin has many beneficial compounds for health:
Pumpkin has prebiotics and other beneficial compounds. The seeds and leaves also have medicinal qualities. It is no wonder why pumpkin is used in traditional medicine in many places around the world!
Pumpkin has prebiotics that will benefit your gut microbiome, so include it in your diet more often than just holidays. If you are going to use it, skip the pumpkin pie filling, which has sugars and numerous other additives. Use plain fresh pumpkin puree or organic canned pumpkin instead.
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