Vitamin deficiency: 7 conditions that could be improved by eating pumpkins
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Pumpkins are the true emblem of Halloween, but we shouldn’t just associate them with the scary holiday. Although pumpkins are most popular at Halloween, they are extremely nutritious with many health benefits and can be eaten all year round. Express.co.uk chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy to find out the five conditions that could be improved by eating pumpkins.
Pumpkins are a fruit that is very low in fat, carbs, and calories, making them suitable for everyone who wants to be healthy – including people on a keto diet.
They are also high in health-giving fibre, and both the flesh and seeds are packed full of micronutrients, containing large amounts of vitamins and minerals (vitamin A, C, E B1, B2, B6, B12, potassium, iron and magnesium to name a few).
In fact, pumpkin seeds are regarded by nutritionists as superfoods as they are so jam-packed with micronutrients.
Pumpkin is thought to be beneficial for the following five medical conditions:
If you’ve got diabetes, you should probably start adding pumpkin into your diet.
Dr Lee explained: “Although pumpkin has a high glycaemic index (GI Index), it has a low glycaemic load (GL) – which means it only raises blood glucose slowly.
“This means it is an excellent choice for diabetics or those with raised blood sugars, as it can help control blood glucose levels.”
Pumpkin is a great source of magnesium, which is important for sleep.
There is some research, although the evidence is weak, that magnesium deficiency may be linked to difficulty sleeping.
Dr Lee explained: “Magnesium is thought to be important for sleep as it helps regulate levels of brain neurotransmitters.
“Magnesium deficiency is rare but may be found in older people, those with type-2 diabetes or those who have gastrointestinal disorders.”
Magnesium levels are also important for the control of blood pressure.
A 2016 meta-analysis of 34 medical trials concluded that taking magnesium was linked to lowered blood pressure.
Dr Lee said: “Previous research had shown that blood pressure tends to fall as the dose of magnesium is increased.
“Eating pumpkin as part of a healthy diet is thought to help regulate blood pressure.”
Cardiovascular disease and menopause
Menopause increases the risk of coronary arteries narrowing, so it’s important for menopausal women to watch their cholesterol.
Apparently, eating pumpkins could help you do this.
Dr Lee noted: “In one small 2011 randomised controlled study, 35 postmenopausal women were given either pumpkin oil or wheatgerm oil for 12 weeks.
“At the end of the study, the pumpkin oil group was found to have a significant increase in HDL ‘good’ cholesterol, and a significant reduction in diastolic (bottom reading) blood pressure.
“There was also a significant reduction in menopausal symptoms – especially improvement in hot flushes, headaches and joint pains.
“However, more research is needed.”
If you have an overactive bladder, you might find that pumpkin helps to keep it under control.
Dr Lee said: “In one small 2014 study, 45 women with overactive bladder consumed 10g of pumpkin oil per day for 12 weeks.
“After six and 12 weeks their symptoms – urgency, frequency and getting up at night to pass urine – were all significantly improved.
“However, further research is needed.”
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