Are you confused about whether pumpkin has a high or low carbohydrate content? Well, you’re definitely not alone, because I’ve faced the same question before. I am currently on a low-carb diet and I wanted to know if the carbs in pumpkin are high or low.
I was specifically focused on pumpkins because I love adding it to my soups, puddings, and custards. I would’ve have been really sad if I’d have to let go of this creamy ingredient for the sake of my low-carb diet. Fortunately, I didn’t have to. Read on to find out.
What is a Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is a round fruit with a slightly ribbed exterior. Yes, you read it right – it is a fruit because it is the portion of the plant that contains the seeds and it grows from a flower. This fruit belongs to the cucurbit family, which includes squash, watermelons, and cucumbers.
Pumpkins usually fall under the main species of cucurbits otherwise known as Pepo. Most Jack-o-lanterns are carved from Pepos. The pumpkins under this species have a deep to bright orange color. They’re great for soups and they can also be mashed to be eaten.
So, is Pumpkin Low-Carb or High-Carb?
Pumpkin is a lower carb fruit when compared to most winter squashes. Atkins, a low carbohydrate diet plan, even listed pumpkin as one of the low carb foods that should be eaten. Half a cup of mashed pumpkin is equivalent to 4.7 grams of carbohydrates.
To substitute starchy vegetables, Ditch the Carbs suggests consuming pumpkin instead. The Protein Bread Co also listed pumpkins as one of the low-carb vegetables that you should include in your diet as it only contains 7.2 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of serving. Do not be confused when pumpkin is referred to as vegetable as some people do categorize it as a vegetable rather than as a fruit.
Based on the evidence above, it can be safe to assume that pumpkin is indeed a low-carb food as it is listed in most low-carb diet plans.
Nutrients and Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Aside from having a low carbohydrate value, pumpkin can be a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and riboflavin. Some of the nutrients are found in its seeds, which includes zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Here are some of the health benefits that you can expect from consuming pumpkin in your daily diet.
1. Promotes a Healthy Heart
Pumpkin can help promote better heart health by lowering blood pressure, thanks to the potassium found in its seeds. Increased consumption of potassium can help reduce the risks of stroke. The beta carotene found in this fruit is also positively linked to the prevention of coronary heart disease.
2. May Prevent Prostate and Colon Cancer
Pumpkin may reduce the risk of colon cancer by preventing the accumulation of carcinogens in your colon. With its rich fiber content, it allows your food to pass through your body quickly. The phytosterols found in pumpkin seeds may help reduce an enlarged prostate. The beta-carotene may also prevent the development of cancer-causing cells in your body.
3. Promotes Good Eye Health
The beta carotene which is transformed into vitamin A in the body is important for good eye health. One cup of pumpkin contains more than the recommended intake of vitamin A every day. Along with lutein and zeaxanthin, it can help prevent macular degeneration.
Selecting and Preparing Pumpkins for Cooking
In selecting pumpkins for cooking, the University of Illinois suggests watching the stem and make sure there are about 1-2 inches left. If the stem is too short, then the pumpkin will rot easily or worse, it may be rotting already. Never buy those with soft spots and bruises. It should be heavy for its size.
To prepare your pumpkin for cooking, begin by placing a towel on your work surface to stabilize your pumpkin. Cut the top near the stem and the end with a sharp knife. Peel, section into quarters, remove the seeds with a spoon and cut into cubes. You can see how this is done more clearly in this.
Some Cooking Ideas for Pumpkin
You can incorporate pumpkin into your daily diet in various ways. Here are some suggestions that you can follow.
- Make a pumpkin puree by roasting the pumpkin for about 45 minutes and pureeing it in a food processor.
- Warm your body with some pumpkin soup by sauteing some chopped pumpkin with onions and simmering it with vegetable stock and double cream.
- Munch on some pumpkin bread by baking a mixture of pumpkin puree, water, eggs, and oil.
- You can find other great recipes here.
Try Some Pumpkin Today!
Pumpkin is a low-carb fruit that’s why it is popularly listed in most low-carb diet plans. It also offers several health benefits like good eye health, better and healthier heart, and it also prevents cancer. In selecting the best pumpkin for your recipes, choose those that are heavy for its size.
If you’ve tried some pumpkin, let us know in the comments section below. Don’t hesitate to share this wonderful article with your friends.