Pumpkin is terribly misunderstood. It's that vegetable that most often our aunt from the village has burdened us with and we don't know what to do with it. We keep it for a long time somewhere in the kitchen or on the balcony, and we always think about how much space it takes and how we would like to get rid of it. It's better known for being the "star" of Halloween, than for its nutritional value. Especially in modern Greek cuisine, it's not particularly honored and is mainly decorative. When you will read the following, we hope to make you feel lucky for having this superfood at home, and use it in your vegan creations, as the health benefits will be many.

General characteristics of the plant

Pumpkins love heat, sun, and water. The right time to plant them is in Spring. But they are ready in Autumn (October to November). In the market, of course, we can find them since summertime. But their taste is better in Autumn. Both the flesh and their seeds (pumpkin seeds) are a food of high quality and nutritional value.

Nutritional Value - Health Benefits

Its nutritional value is as of very few vegetables and the benefits to our health are numerous. Its nutrients, from both the seeds and the flesh, include:
• Carotenoids: they are the pigments that give the characteristic color. They are antioxidants that act against premature aging, infections and heart disease. They also contribute to eye health, by protecting against degeneration and deteriorations (cataracts), and they're also confirmed anti-cancer agents.
• Fatty acids: pumpkin contains large amounts of essential fatty acids, which contribute, aesthetically, to the creation of healthy and glowing skin. It also helps regulate blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, prevent arthritis, and improve brain function. It doesn't contain any saturated fat, which are harmful to our health. It's recommended to eat pumpkin seeds, daily, for wrinkles prevention.
• Vitamins: a wide variety of vitamins is contained in pumpkin, such as Vitamin A, C, E, B2, B6, folic acid, with a very significant positive effect on the eyes, skin, bones, and teeth. They also boost the immune system and promote the production of collagen.
• Protein: pumpkin seeds, in particular, contain 25% protein. That is, out of 50 g of seeds, 12.5 g are protein!
• Minerals: potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, are some of the important trace elements contained in pumpkin. They contribute to the proper functioning of the brain, the proper development of bones and teeth by determining bone density, while enhancing the reproductive and circulatory system.
• Fiber: a combination of high fiber content and low calorie content. Helps the digestive system (treat chronic constipation, increasing bowel motility), reduce & #8220; bad & #8221; cholesterol, but also blood sugar levels. It is striking that only one cup of pumpkin puree covers one third of our daily fiber needs (which is 25 grams). It quickly increases the feeling of satiety and as a result we quickly feel full.
• Amino Acids: the flesh of the pumpkin contains L-tryptophan, which induces feelings of euphoria, improving our mood and mental health.
• It has few calories (only 20 for every 100 g of cooked pumpkin), while 5 g to 10 g of pumpkin seeds each day prevent kidney stones. They have a diuretic effect, contributing to the proper kidney function.

How do we choose them?

We choose pumpkins with stalks, hard skin, no bumps, and nice distinctive orange color. The taste depends on its variety and production conditions. When buying just one piece, we should check out its flesh. It should look juicy and not stale and dry.

How do we use it?

Pumpkin can be an ingredient in countless recipes in vegan cuisine, both savory and sweet ones. There aren't many vegetables that can do this. The most popular recipes are:

  • the puree
  • the soup
  • chips (thin slices in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper, and other spices)
  • Rice Ingredient (Chestnut & & #8220; Kills & #8221;)
  • pumpkin tart
  • jams
  • spoon sweets
  • cakes
  • muffins
  • creams
  • pies
  • with vegetables baked in the oven,

while you can also eat it raw!

How is it maintained?

One of its many advantages is its shelf life, outside the fridge, which ranges from 3 months or more when it's uncut, depending of course on its quality and type. Its hard shell makes it particularly durable. However, it should not be left under direct sunlight or high humidity (so don't leave it outside), and when it starts to soften we should consume it because it won't last long. If cut, it can be stored in the fridge for approximately 7 days. In the freezer, it can be maintained for more than one year.

Nutritional information:

100 g of raw pumpkin contain:

Energy (kcal)13.8
Fat (g)0.2
of which saturated (g)0.1
Carbohydrates (g)2
of which sugars (g)1.7
Fiber (g)0.5
Proteins (g)0.75
Salt (g)0

What does science say?

Pumpkin is a beautiful durable vegetable, that's a shame to use it only for decoration. One of the latest studies in the journal "Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention", confirmed its anti-cancer action, specifically for lung cancer (a sample of 60,000 adults), with a 37% reduction among smokers. And, as mentioned, this is just one of its beneficial effects.

So don't just look at it... eat it.


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