Table of Contents Hide
- Pumpkin Nutritional Profile
- How Much Nutrients in This Food
- How To Serve Nutritious This Food
- Diets That May Restrict or Exclude This Food
- How To Buying This Food
- How To Storing This Food
- How To Preparing This Food
- What Happens When You Cook This Food
- How Other Kinds of Processing Affect This Food
- Amazing Medical Uses and/or Benefits
See also Winter squash.
Pumpkin Nutritional Profile
• Energy value (calories per serving): Low
• Protein: Moderate
• Fat: Low
• Saturated fat: Low
• Cholesterol: None
• Carbohydrates: High
• Fiber: Very high
• Sodium: Low
• Major vitamin contribution: Vitamin A, B vitamins
• Major mineral contribution: Potassium, iron (seeds)
How Much Nutrients in This Food
• Pumpkins are very high in dietary fiber (soluble pectins), with moderate amounts of sugar, a little protein, some vitamin C, and a truly extraordinary supply of vitamin A derived from the deep yellow carotenes (including beta-carotene) in the golden it flesh.
• It seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and are particularly high in insoluble cellulose and lignin (in the seed covering). They are high in fat (primarily unsaturated fatty acids rich in vitamin E).
• Their proteins are plentiful but limited in the essential amino acid lysine. They are a good source of the B vitamin folate and nonheme iron, the form of iron in plants.
• One-half cup boiled pumpkin has 1.3 g dietary fiber, 6,115 IU vitamin A (2.6 times the RDA for a woman, 2.1 times the RDA for a man), and 5.8 mg vitamin C (8 percent of the RDA for a woman, 6 percent of theRDA for a man).
• One ounce dried pumpkin (or squash) seeds has 1.1 g dietary fiber, 13 g total fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 4 g monounsaturated fat, 5.9 g polyunsaturated fat), seven grams protein, 16 mcg folate (4 percent of the RDA for a woman, 53 percent of the RDA for a man).
How To Serve Nutritious This Food
Boiled pumpkin absorbs water, so ounce for ounce, it baked has more nutrients than boiled it.
Dried, with beans (peanuts) to complete the proteins in the seeds.
Diets That May Restrict or Exclude This Food
• Low-fat (the seeds)
• Low-fiber (particularly the seeds)
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How To Buying This Food
It with a bright orange, blemish-free rind. The pumpkin should feel heavy for its size.
Seeds in sealed packages to protect them from air and moisture.
How To Storing This Food
• Store this food in a cool, dry place and use within a month. Vitamin A is vulnerable to oxygen; the longer the this is stored, the less vitamin A it will have.
How To Preparing This Food
• Wash this food under cold running water, then cut it in half or in quarters or in smaller portions, as you wish. Pull off the stringy parts and collect and set aside the seeds. Leave the rind on if you plan to bake large pieces of this; peel it off for boiling.
• If this food is small enough and/or your oven is large enough, you can simply scoop out the strings and
seeds and bake this food whole, as you would a large acorn squash.
What Happens When You Cook This Food
When you bake this food, the soluble food fibers in its cell walls dissolve and this gets softer. If you bake it too long, the moisture inside the cells will begin to evaporate and It will shrink.
• When you boil this food, it’s just the opposite. The cell walls still soften, but its cells absorb water and the vegetable swells. (Boil it too long, though, and the cells will rupture, moisture will escape, and this food once again will shrink).
• Baking also caramelizes sugars on the cut surface of the pumpkin, browning the vegetable. Since the pumpkin is not extraordinarily high in sugars, we help this along by dusting it with brown sugar before baking. Either way, this food will retain its color and its vitamin A since its carotenoids are impervious to the normal heat of cooking.
When you toast this food seeds, their moisture evaporates and they turn crisp and brown. Commercially toasted it’s seeds are usually salted and must be considered high-sodium food. To toast seeds at home, remove the outer cover of the seeds and toss the seeds on an ungreased skillet on top of the stove or on a cookie sheet in a 350°F oven. Stir often to keep the seeds from burning. They are done when golden.
How Other Kinds of Processing Affect This Food
According to the USDA, canned “pumpkin” may be a mixture of pumpkin and other yellow-orange winter squash, all of which are similar in nutritional value.
Amazing Medical Uses and/or Benefits
Lower risk of some cancers.
According to the American Cancer Society, foods rich in betacarotene may lower the risk of cancers of the larynx, esophagus, and lungs. There is no similar benefit from beta-carotene supplements; indeed, one controversial study actually showed a higher rate of lung cancer among smokers taking the supplement.
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