The Real Impact Pumpkin Can Have On The Body

As fall closes in, Americans everywhere will reacquaint themselves with a tasty obsession: the pumpkin. This humble squash can be consumed in all manner of ways — on its own, in a soup, or even as an ingredient in cupcakes, pies, and drinks. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what kind of effect the orange fruit has on your body? Well, you should really find out before you scarf down that next slice of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.

Food for thought

We haven't been eating pumpkin for that long, either. According to historian Cindy Ott, the settlers who first arrived in America thought of pumpkins as “a food of last resort.” So it could be argued that it wasn't until the first Thanksgiving, in 1621, that pumpkins began to emerge at family dinner tables across the country. And yet, few have stopped to consider the impact the squash can have on our health.

The good stuff

Food expert Nicola Shubrook explains, “Pumpkin is a great source of potassium and beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A. It also contains some minerals including calcium and magnesium as well as vitamins E, C, and some B vitamins." Okay, great — but what exactly does all this mean?

A pumpkin deep dive

In short, that sounds like a lot of nutritional benefits for your body right there. But if we take an even closer look at a pumpkin’s contents, there’s even more to uncover. And luckily for us, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) studied a single cup of the fruit in its raw state and shared its findings.

More benefits

According to the USDA, that small helping of pumpkin contained three grams of sugar, one gram each of both protein and fiber, and eight grams of carbohydrates. A serving of that size also comes in at roughly 30 calories, which makes it a pretty good option if you’re trying to find low-calorie snacks. But does pumpkin really work wonders for our bodies, or should we swap out the Thanksgiving staple for something healthier?