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Health Benefits of Pumpkin ‘Kaddu’

Is Pumpkin ‘Kaddu’ a vegetable or a fruit… the debate rages on BUT what is sure is the amazing health benefits pumpkin offers. In fact, some of the most revered Indian Gods used Kamandalus pots made out of pumpkin, for their day to day ascetic needs. Also, in certain parts of India, kaddu is a must serve ‘vegetable’ for some of the festival and religious feasts.

Pumpkin also known as kaddu has orange or yellow skin and pulp. It has a thick smooth rind with light, vertical ribs. Pumpkin has a hollow center, with several small, white-coloured seeds interspersed in a net-like structure. Kaddu is a sweet vegetable that is rich in minerals and vitamins.

Nutritional Facts of Pumpkin

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of pumpkin weighing approximately 116 gm contains 30 cal, 1.2 gm of proteins, 1.2 gm of fiber, 7.5 gm of carbohydrates, 116 mg of fat, 147 mcg of copper, 0.35 mcg of selenium, 928 mcg of iron, 24 mg of calcium,394 mg of potassium, 1.2 mg of sodium, 14 mg of magnesium, 51 mg of phosphorous, 371 mcg of zinc, 10 mg of vitamin C, 1.2 mg of vitamin E, 1.3 mcg of vitamin K, 58 mcg of thiamin, 128 mcg of riboflavin,  696 mcg of niacin, 71 mcg of vitamin B6, 19 mcg of folate, 346 mcg of pantothenic acid, and 9.5mg of choline. 

Potential Health Benefits of Pumpkin ‘Kaddu’

1/5. Promotes healthy vision

1. Pumpkin is loaded with abundant nutrients that promote strong vision. The beta-carotene content of kaddu offers vitamin A which is essential for promoting eyesight.

2. Lutein and zeaxanthin present in kaddu lower the risks of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. 

3. Kaddu is rich in vitamins C and E, which inhibits free radicals from damaging the eye cells.

2/5. Improves immunity

1. The abundant content of vitamins such as Vitamin A, E, C, and iron present in pumpkin helps improve the immune system. Vitamin A helps fight infections. Vitamin C helps heal wounds faster 

2. The iron and folate content of kaddu helps in building a strong immune system. 

3/5. Promotes Weight Loss

1. The low calorie and low-fat content of kaddu help promote weight loss.  

2. The high content of fiber in pumpkin helps to curb the appetite.

4/5. Lowers the risk of heart disease

1. The fibre found in pumpkins aids in clearing the blockage of arteries and preventing heart disease. 

2. The carotenoid content of pumpkin reduces the risk of heart disease. 

3. The potassium and vitamin C content of pumpkin promotes heart health. High potassium content lowers blood pressure and decreases the risk of strokes.  

5/5. Other possible Benefits…

Apart from the benefits mentioned above, some of the other benefits produced by kaddu are as follows: – lowers risk of cancer, promotes healthy skin, prevents and controls diabetes, prevents inflammation, and protects bone health.

For vegetarians, pumpkin is one of the best source of potassium and beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is an immunity and general wellbeing enhancing vitamin. A small bowl of cooked Pumpkin ‘Kaddu’ can offer the daily requirement of vitamin A.

How to add Pumpkin to the diet?

There are various ways by which pumpkin can be added to the diet. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible. Pumpkin can be roasted, boiled, or steamed. Some of the ways by which pumpkin can be added to our diet are as follows…

  • Used in sambar.
  • Used in pumpkin pie.
  • To prepare a sweet dish.
  • Served in savory dishes. 
  • As pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin juice. 
  • Mashed and used in soups and purees. 
  • Seeds are roasted and can be had as a snack.

How to prepare Pumpkin Soup?

Take 1 large pumpkin and cut it into small pieces.

Remove the skin and scoop out the seeds. 

Cook the small pieces in boiling water until soft.

Blend 1 medium chopped red chilli, 2 cloves garlic, little coriander, salt and pepper, and whiz till it is well blended.

Put the soft pumpkin into the blender and blend.

Put the mixture into a saucepan, and add 1 can coconut milk and simmer.

In case it is too thick then, add some water.

Add chopped coriander and serve.

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