Halloween’s here and we’re seeing all kinds of orange. But beyond their tasty seeds and jack-o’-lantern potential, pumpkins provide some serious health perks.
Pumpkin—minus the pie—can potentially help keep diabetes in check. Research shows that diets rich in carotenoids, which are abundant in pumpkins, improve glucose metabolism in diabetics. According to Trudy Scott, CN, vice president of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, “serving pumpkin with a healthy form of fat lowers the glycemic effect and enhances the absorption of carotenoids.” Try roasting pumpkin with olive oil and a dash of sea salt and pepper.
Proteins from pumpkin rinds inhibit the growth of certain microbes, including Candida albicans, which causes vaginal yeast infections, diaper rash, and other health issues, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Make a hearty pumpkin soup—roasted rind and all—so Mom and baby can stay infection-free.
Pumpkin puree can cure irregularity and mild constipation in dogs and cats, says Marcia Martin, DVM, a homeopathic veterinarian in Mobile, Alabama. Add to your pet’s food 1 to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin puree for every 15 pounds of body weight.