From spiced lattes to holiday pies, autumn and pumpkin pretty much go hand in hand.
Just a quick, delicious whiff of it probably conjures up happy memories of crunching leaves and cozy sweaters. The other benefits of pumpkin — for both your health and appearance — are just as powerful! The bright orange fruit (you read that correctly, it's a fruit) offers some awesome advantages.
Here are four ways pumpkin nutrition keeps you looking and feeling your best.
1. Pumpkin is packed with health-boosting nutrients
Pumpkin contains a wide variety of antioxidants. These famously restorative compounds defend against harmful free radicals — in the process helping to keep your immune system strong and lower your risk for certain chronic diseases. In particular, pumpkin contains large amounts of carotenoids, the same antioxidants that give carrots their orange coloring.
Your body turns one of those carotenoids, beta carotene, into vitamin A, which can help strengthen your immune system. Additionally, the antioxidants in pumpkin may improve your heart health and reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Its high potassium content may even reduce high blood pressure.
2. Eating pumpkin protects your skin from damage
Vitamin A (which you might recognize by its other name, retinol) helps to protect your skin and eyes from sun damage. That said, it's important to remember that daily sun protection is still a must — no matter how much pumpkin you eat!
3. Pumpkin is a versatile, low-calorie food
As the weather cools down, it's common to start reaching for hearty comfort foods. Who could blame you? This is the perfect season to take advantage of one of the biggest benefits of pumpkin — its versatility.
No matter what you're making for dinner, pumpkin can make the perfect addition thanks to its high nutrient content and low caloric density. In other words, pumpkin is super filling relative to the number of calories and nutrients it has, so don't skimp when adding it to salads, pastas, stews and more!
As if pumpkin nutrition needed another thing going for it, the seeds of the fruit are incredibly rich in important nutrients like zinc, magnesium and iron. That's why you might see pumpkin seed oil in the ingredients list of skincare products like soothing face masks. Still feeling hungry? Just add some seasoning and toast the seeds for a healthy, crunchy salad topping or portable snack.
4. Using products with pumpkin can make your skin glow
There's a reason pumpkin nutrition gets so much attention, and why it's become a staple in so many beauty products. Along with vitamins A and C, pumpkin also contains powerful skin-enhancing ingredients like brightening alpha-hydroxy acids and naturally exfoliating enzymes. It also boasts vitamin E for skin restoration and acne-fighting zinc.
Try a moisturizer, mask or body wash that contains pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin extract or pumpkin enzyme to reap the benefits of this powerful plant-based skincare ingredient. There's no better way to prep your skin for brisk autumn walks and cozy nights spent snuggled up by the fire!
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