PUMPKINS Can Help You Lose Weight
Pumpkins are related to the melon and marrow family, the Cucurbitaceae, all of which seem to spread themselves throughout home gardens and entire paddocks. For full flavour, the pumpkin flesh needs to be a bright orange and this also indicates a maximum supply of vitamin A and carotenoids (1600-7000 IU). Over 50% of the carotene is in the form of beta carotene (3100mcg) with beta cryptoxanthin a close second at 2145mcg, and third, lutein and zeaxanthin (1500mcg).
Pumpkins are the ultimate food source of beta cryptoxanthin, and research has shown a direct benefit to the respiratory system; in particular, the lungs. For smokers and passive smokers, a decreased blood serum level of beta cryptoxanthin was found. Generally speaking, carotenoids are of vital value for the respiratory system, the lungs and the well-known antioxidant properties of beta carotene, as mentioned with carrots. However, carrots only supply 78mcg of beta cryptoxanthin, most vegetables contain none, while a few tropical fruits supply moderate amounts. Pumpkin can therefore be considered the ‘king of cryptoxanthin’, and if you know a smoker, or work in a smoky place, spread the word that the ‘king’ is inviting all of you to dinner. What a nice gesture! Pumpkin scones for afternoon tea, in the royal gardens; pumpkin soup entree; pumpkin pie for the royal gala dinner; and for dessert, you guessed it, pumpkin meringue in the library with the Queen and Earl Grey!
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Back to business. The addition of cream with the soup or scones, or butter with the pie will improve the absorption of the beta cryptoxanthin. As with all carotenoids, they are fat soluble vitamins and the addition of dietary fat increases their absorption via the digestive tract.
Pumpkins are low in calcium (21mg) and nearly all minerals except potassium (340mg), silicon, iron (1mg) and chlorine. Pumpkins are a great food for the eyes, skin, hair and through winter they will provide plenty of energy with a moderately high GI (75), but with a dab of butter in the mash, or cream soup, it’s smoother on the sugar levels.
While the smoking habit has unfortunately spread around the world, the ‘king’ is also ready to overtake the world to provide some golden royal health benefits. But remember, get in before midnight!
CALORIES – total: 16 kcal. per 100 grams Calories from: Carb: 13 Protein: 2 Fat: 1
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