Did you know pumpkin is a fruit? Despite the fact that the popularity of pumpkin is suspect one cannot deny the fact that it’s a nutritional wonder. Pumpkin is enriched with beta carotene, which, when consumed, is converted to vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A plays a crucial role for the health of our skin, vision and our immune system. This is one of the reason why experts suggest to include pumpkin in one’s diet.
For most of us, it is the flesh of the pumpkin that we think of consuming. But not many know that every part of the pumpkin, including flowers, leaves, and seeds, can be eaten in different ways. Join us, as we give you a lowdown of all the edible parts of this humble pumpkin and their benefits.
Roast it, make a curry, stuff it in ravioli or pie filling, there’s so much you can do with the pumpkin meat. This slightly sweet fruit is packed with health perks—good heart health, sharp eyesight, and wrinkle-free skin. According to the National Cancer Institute (America), the dietary antioxidant beta carotene present in pumpkin flesh, may play a role in cancer prevention.
Also read: How to make pumpkin spice latte at home
Pumpkin leaves are eaten in several parts of India—some make a dry sabzi out of these, while others prepare a gravy-based dish. According to Naavnidhi K Wadhwa, a Coach for Psychology of Eating, Diet Planner, and NLP Expert from Mumbai, pumpkin leaves are low on calories and come packed with iron, potassium, proteins, calcium, and vitamins (A and C). These nutrients ensure bone health and healing wounds too. The leaves are also rich in anti-oxidants known to slow down the process of ageing.
Roasted pumpkin seeds make for great snacks similar to other dry fruits and nuts. It can also be added to salads or fruit bowls, they add crunch and texture to the preparation.
Bangalore-based nutritionist Anupama Menon says, “Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc. They help our body to activate T-cells critical for proper immune function. People who are deficient in zinc tend to be more susceptible to a variety of illnesses—the most common one is cold.” Meanwhile, Wadhwa says these seeds are rich in fibres that helps bowel movements, keeping our weight in check, and lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Also read: How to eat pumpkin and other vegetables as desserts
As far as the pumpkin skin is concerned, it boasts of the same benefits as the seeds. In addition to that, it helps fight yeast infection. The skin too makes for a nutritious snack, just like the seeds. All Sprinkle salt on the peels, once they start releasing moisture; toss them in a little oil and bake for around 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven. We can also prepare an interesting chutney using pumpkin peels, sesame seeds, freshly grated coconut, and green chillies.
These yellow and orange hued edible flowers are very popular dishes in parts of West Bengal and Kerala. Some make fritters, some make a stir fry, while many others stuff and bake them until crispy, golden brown.
Also read: Discover the vast variety of edible flowers in India
These flowers help prevent cold and cough because it strengthens the body’s resistance to infection, just like the skin. They also contain vitamin B9, which is essential for sperm creation and quality.
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