Pumpkin is a vegetable whose origin is found in South Asia. It is the fruit that grows from the gourd and is part of the cucurbit family. This family groups more than 850 species of vegetables, almost all herbaceous, creeping, or of the climbing type, from which large fruits are born and protected by a solid bark.
To this family of cucurbits belong fruits and vegetables of the most consumed in the world, such as melon, watermelon, cucumber or zucchini.
The origin of the pumpkin
As we have already said in the introduction to this article, the pumpkin has its origin in South Asia. Many ancient authors speak of the pumpkin in their writings, and historians agree that this vegetable was already cultivated in ancient Hebrew and Egyptian communities.
Originally, the pumpkin was produced for the use of its seeds (which have great nutritional properties). This happened since the original varieties did not enjoy the fleshy and sweet flavour that they have today. However, this trend was reversed over time, and it was not until relatively recently that the consumption of pumpkin seeds became common in our society.
It is also worth noting that, historically, pumpkin has been more successful in countries with a warm climate, where it spread with greater speed from the 15th century on. However, squash is now grown in hot and humid areas around the world.
Pumpkin and diabetes
There are two types of pumpkin depending on the time of year during which it is grown. We will see them below.
It is a type of pumpkin with thin and light-coloured skin. Its seeds are especially soft. In addition, its conservation time is quite short. Within this variety, different species of pumpkin are grouped, which we will list below:
Butternut squash (white, yellow or green) Spaghetti squash (yellowish) Rondini squash (orange skin and light-coloured flesh) Winter squash
Have you ever wondered if canned pumpkin is good for you? The answer is yes. Pure, unsalted canned pumpkin is a healthy, low-calorie, nutrient-dense food.
According to the Mayo Clinic, both fresh and canned squash is packed with nutrients, such as potassium, vitamin A, and iron. It has to be 100 percent pure pumpkin, which is different from canned pumpkin pie mix, which is generally high in added sugar and therefore less healthy.
Here are five reasons to enjoy your canned pumpkin:
For weight control
Pumpkin is rich in fibre and low in calories. One cup (243 g) of canned pumpkin has seven grams of fibre and 83 calories.
Fibre slows down digestion and makes you feel full longer, leading to lower calorie intake. Additionally, fibre also helps food move through your digestive system. What makes constipation preventable.
It favours your defences
Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A. One cup has more than 200 percent of the recommended daily consumption amounts of this nutrient necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system, which protects you from infections either by viruses or bacteria. And other foreign bodies. Although in less quantity, pumpkin also provides vitamin C, an antioxidant and necessary for collagen production.
Promotes the health of your eyes
Not only is the carrot rich in beta-carotene, the pumpkin too, hence its bright orange colour. Beta carotenes are converted into vitamin A, a nutrient that promotes eye health.
Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that can protect the eyes from harmful high-energy light waves, such as ultraviolet rays in sunlight, and help prevent age-related eye diseases like cataracts. Publishes the website specialized in health WebMD.
Decreases the risk of cancer
People who eat many foods with beta-carotene may have a lower risk of certain types of cancer, such as lung cancer or prostate cancer.
You don’t get the same benefit from taking vitamin A supplements. According to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, studies have not shown that vitamin A or beta-carotene supplements help prevent cancer or reduce the chances of death from this disease. . Smokers who take high doses of beta-carotene supplements have an increased risk of lung cancer.
Promotes blood pressure control
Each cup of canned pumpkin contains 505 milligrams of potassium and only 12 milligrams of sodium. A diet high in potassium and low in sodium can help prevent high blood pressure.
As you can see, canned pumpkin is not only delicious, it is a very nutritious food, which can be part of a healthy diet and provide you with its benefits. Choose a natural canned pumpkin without salt. Take advantage of it to thicken soups and stews instead of cream; you will have a lower-fat dish and increase fibre content.
The pumpkin family is very broad, so that we will focus on the Cucurbita species, particularly on winter squash, butternut squash, or butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata). Although we can find it throughout the year in the market, it is between October and November when they are at their best.
Butternut winter squash is a pear-shaped, moderate-sized piece. Its skin is thin compared to other pumpkins but thick compared to zucchini, for example, also of the same genus. Its colour is of an orange cream tone, with a more intense orange flesh. When buying it, we must make sure that your skin is in perfect condition, hard, fine, matte, and that the piece is firm and heavy. Being healthy can last us more than two months if we keep it (unopened) in a cool place, at around 10-15º C, and dark, without direct exposure to light.
Once the pumpkin has been opened, if it is not used whole, it should be wrapped well in plastic wrap or an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for two or three days. Some freeze it, diced or in portions, but we have not.
This variety of squash is highly prized for some reasons, including its creamy texture and sweet, nutty flavour. Its orange meat admits all kinds of culinary preparations, baked, fried, cooked, roasted, even raw, and it tastes very good. Regarding its skin, as we saw in Jamie Oliver’s Pumpkin Buns recipe, once cooked, it can also be eaten.
The skin of this pumpkin is also sometimes used as a container, and the pulp is removed, cleaned well and filled with the same pulp of the pumpkin already prepared and turned into a puree, a souffle, a stew, etc. Of course, pipes are a food supplement that we can extract from this vegetable; pumpkin seeds can be roasted and incorporated into multiple recipes or eaten as a snack taking advantage of their nutritional properties.
Butternut squash is also highly appreciated for its nutritional contribution, it is rich in vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, fibre, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and is also low in calories, that is why it is suitable in weight control diets, as long as it is not made with ingredients or cooking methods that increase the caloric value.