Breathe easier, as pumpkin helps protect your lungs
Originally from the Americas and actually a type of winter squash, pumpkins offer a lot of health benefits. As a great source of vitamin C, fibre and, particularly, beta carotene they are superb for healthy digestion, better vision and a strong immune system. Available year round, these gems of nutrition make the perfect addition to anyone’s diet but can be especially beneficial for women’s health.
Carotenoids such as beta carotene, which our bodies turn into usable vitamin A, have been shown to be highly protective of the lungs, especially in smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke. By fight- ing free radicals, they are able to assist the body in removing dangerous toxins and ward off other lung-related diseases such as emphysema – conditions that are unfortunately increasing in the female popula- tion. Add folate, a vital B vitamin that pregnant women need and which pumpkins contain in a good amount, and you have another reason to explore the various ways you can consume pumpkin.
It also packs a beneficial punch for men. Researchers from Perth have found higher intakes of carotenoid-rich foods such as pumpkin are linked to a lower rate of pros- tate cancer. A high intake of carotenoid-rich pumpkin and carrots reduced the risk of having elevated haemoglobin A1c levels, a measure of diabetes, by nearly 50 per cent!
Pumpkins will stay in cold storage for a long time while. For cooking, smaller varieties are definitely the way to go.
Easy ways to get pumpkin into your diet
- Cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast in the oven with a little olive oil and seasoning for a side dish.
- Turn pumpkin pulp into a delicious soup with the addition of carrots and aromatic spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Toss pumpkin seeds with salt and olive oil then roast in the oven until golden and crisp for a handy healthy snack.
Extract from the book 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life – A Women’s Guide to Health and Vitality by Emma Sutherland and Michelle Thrift. Photography by Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $35.
And the winners are… Kelly Ryan and Natalie Stoute! Thanks for your entries, we hope you enjoy your copies of 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life.
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