The orange fruit of fall can help boost your immune system, protect your vision and even help you look younger. For many people, fall is practically synonymous with pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. Although these treats are fine in moderation, they shouldn’t be mainstays of your diet. The problem is hardly the pumpkin itself, but rather the oodles of sugar and fat that tend to accompany such seasonal favorites. “Pumpkin has an impressive nutrient profile,” says Amy Kimberlain, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “One cup of cooked pumpkin has 49 calories, virtually no fat, 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber,” and it’s loaded with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gets converted in your body into vitamin A.
Here are seven facts about pumpkins that might surprise you, as well as tips for enjoying it in a healthier manner.
1. It may help keep your immune system strong. Steering clear of sick people, practicing good hand hygiene and staying up to date on your flu, COVID-19 and pneumonia vaccines are still crucial. But if you’re looking to give your immune system a little extra boost this fall and winter, eating an ample variety of produce — including pumpkin and pumpkin seeds — may help, Kimberlain says.
Excerpted from AARP