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Pumpkin nutritional facts and why you should incorporate it into your diet

Man holding armful of pumpkins and squash

The fall season is here and while pumpkin spice lattes may taste great, they aren’t the healthiest option to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.

Beyond their delicious taste, pumpkins are linked to many nutritional benefits. Did you know that one cup of pumpkin has only 49 calories? Plus, they have 12 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, are sodium free and fat-free.

There will be a lot of these around this month, so here are 4 nutritional reasons to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.

Helps to build muscle

Add some pumpkin to your diet to help build muscle. Pumpkin seeds are a good plant source of protein and contain 5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons without the shell. 

Keeps colds at bay

Cold and flu season are around the corner. Take advantage of the plentiful pumpkin seeds to give your immune system a boost. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which plays a role in healthy immune function.  

A good alternative for healthy cooking

Add pureed pumpkin to cooked cereals, smoothies and savory foods. It can replace oil, butter or margarine in baked goods to reduce fat. 

Good source of vitamin A

A pumpkin’s orange color comes from beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A is essential for preserving your eyesight, may lower the risk of certain cancers, supports a healthy immune system, reduces the risk of acne, supports bone health, and promotes healthy growth and reproduction. 

The bottom line — pumpkin is easy to add to your diet in both sweet and savory dishes. Try incorporating this nutritious orange vegetable into your diet to reap its health benefits all season long.

Nutritional facts provided by Mary-Jo Sawyer, VCU Health Register Dietitian