Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins, you can’t get away from them when September rolls around even if you try. But with all the pumpkin flavoured food and drinks, have we ever stopped to ask the question, is it healthy?
Let me give you the breakdown of the nutrition facts, health benefits, and the glycemic index of pumpkins, to help you decide.
Pumpkins are absolutely stacked with nutrition! It’s filled with plenty of vitamins and nutrients to meet your daily needs, here’s a summary of what you get in 1 cup of canned pumpkin:
- 140 Calories
- 3 Grams Protein
- 7 Grams Fat (pumpkin seeds)
- 19 Grams Carbohydrates
- 7 Grams Fibre
- Vitamin A 209% DV
- Vitamin K 37% DV
- Copper 28% DV
- Vitamin E 22% DV
- Iron 18% DV
- Magnesium 13% DV
- Riboflavin 10% DV
- Vitamin B6 10% DV
- Vitamin C 10% DV
- Potassium 10% DV
That’s a lot of information, so let me point out the important points.
Fibre is a major component of a healthy diet, men should be getting 38 grams and women should get 25 grams. Pumpkins providing 7 grams of fibre per cup is a great addition to a healthy diet! Fibre can help to keep you feeling full, aid in good cholesterol, improve blood sugars, promote regular bowel movements and reduce colon cancer risk!
Fats found in pumpkins are mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, specifically in pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds will have about 7 grams of healthy fats which can help to improve cardiovascular health.
Glycemic Index of Pumpkins
The glycemic index of pumpkin is 75, this puts it on the high end of the glycemic index. If you strictly looked at the glycemic index you’d think you shouldn’t have pumpkin on a regular basis. But if you’ve read our article on glycemic index versus glycemic load, you know that we need to look deeper.
The glycemic index isn’t a perfect science and shouldn’t be used in isolation to make a decision about what foods to eat. The glycemic index assumes that you’re essentially going to eat a whole pumpkin by itself. But that’s not our reality.
The glycemic load takes into account a normal portion size, putting the glycemic load at only 3. This means that it is a low glycemic load food, making it perfectly healthy to eat for both diabetics and non-diabetics alike. We don’t expect to see large spikes in blood sugars.
Health Benefits of Pumpkins
Pumpkins are loaded with nutrients, many meeting far above your daily recommendations. Here are just a few benefits that you will see from putting pumpkins in your regular diet.
Stable Blood Sugars
The low glycemic load of pumpkins ensures a gentle rise in blood sugar, which can help prevent energy crashes and overeating.
Pumpkins are loaded with dietary fiber, helping with digestion, giving you a feeling of fullness, and helping with gut health. Fiber also works to steady blood sugar levels.
Pumpkins are a great source of vitamins, particularly vitamin A, which is essential for eye health, skin, and immune function.
Pumpkins contain a great source of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants, all contributing to heart health and overall health.
What About Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of dietary fats and can be added to salads, vegetable dishes or eaten alone as a snack. If you want a great recipe to use pumpkin seeds, check out this Beetroot Broccoli Salad to find out how you can incorporate them into your day!
What to Watch Out For
Indulging in the allure of pumpkin spice lattes and store-bought pumpkin loaves is tempting during the fall season, but caution is advised. Many of these popular treats are brimming with excessive added sugars, which can quickly lead to an unhealthy sugar intake.
Consuming too much added sugar has been linked to various health issues, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. So before savouring these seasonal delights, it’s essential to check the nutritional information and make informed choices.
Consider opting for healthier alternatives or homemade versions with reduced sugar content to enjoy the flavors of autumn without compromising your well-being. Remember, moderation is key when it comes to these tempting treats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Pumpkins are low on the glycemic load scale, have a high fibre content providing 7 grams per cup, and can be a part of a diabetics daily diet.
There is no recommended upper limit for pumpkin per day, but I always recommend eating foods in moderation. Having one cup per day or less and having it in a variety of ways can be a part of a healthy diet.
Pumpkins whether eaten in isolation or as a part of baking should not raise blood sugars. Pumpkins glycemic load is only 3, which makes it quite low on the scale. In theory it should not raise blood sugars. It also contains plenty of fibre to help regulate blood sugars.
Pumpkin Recipe You’ll Love
The ultimate breakfast experience is irresistible Pumpkin Overnight Oats recipe! Packed with an 30 grams of protein, this wholesome creation is designed to fuel your day with lasting energy and unparalleled flavor.
It’s a breakfast that not only satisfies your taste buds but also keeps you feeling full and energized throughout the morning. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast seeking a protein-packed kickstart or simply looking to savour a delectable morning ritual, our Pumpkin Overnight Oats is the perfect choice.
Find the recipe here.