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Pumpkin (Cucurbita): Delicious and Healthy Fruit


herbs and bioactive substances

Pumpkin is a type of fruit, but a lot of people consider it a vegetable (yes, that's right) that belongs to the Pumpkin family (Cucurbitaceae). Although it is usually taken as a vegetable, scientifically speaking the pumpkin is a fruit as it contains seeds. It is also more similar to vegetables than to fruits in terms of nutrients. We wonder why is it so helpful alongside tasty, so we will try to find the answers.

Pumpkin (Cucurbita): Delicious and healthy fruit

Extremely nutritious and especially rich in vitamin A

Pumpkin (Cucurbita) possesses an impressive number of nutrients that serve as digestive, intestinal, metabolic, heart health and not  only [ref. 1] . One glass of boiled pumpkin (245 grams) contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 49 kcal
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin A: 245% of the reference daily dose (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 19% of RDI
  • Potassium: 16% of RDI
  • Copper: 11% of RDI
  • Manganese: 11% of RDI
  • Vitamin B2: 11% of RDI
  • Vitamin E: 10% of RDI
  • Iron: 8% of RDI
  • Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and folate

A high amount of beta carotene for antioxidant properties

Just like other orange fruits and vegetables - oranges, carrots, and sweet potatoes, pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene. Your body converts this antioxidant into vitamin A. You need vitamin A to see well, have strong protection from microbes, and make your reproductive system work perfectly. In addition, beta-carotene helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs to be healthy.

Pumpkins also contain other antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. They can neutralize free radicals by stopping them from damaging your cells  [ref. 2] .

In vitro and animal studies have shown that these antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of cancer, eye diseases and other conditions.  [ref. 3] 

Pumpkin contains vitamins to support immunity

Pumpkin is rich in nutrients that can boost your immune system. First, it has a high content of beta-carotene, which helps in the fight against infections. People with vitamin A deficiency often suffer from weaker immune systems and protection.

Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which has been shown to increase white blood cell production, help immune cells work more efficiently and causes wounds to heal faster. 

Pumpkin to support normal weight

Pumpkin is considered a nutrient-rich food that is also low in calories. Therefore, it is compatible with dietary regimes of weight loss and correction of the figure. Like cucumbers, pumpkin has less than 50 calories per cup (245 grams) and consists of about 94% water. This means that it will also hydrate you perfectly, which is also another great benefit.

Potential anti-cancer action of the pumpkin

Pumpkin is high in carotenoids, a type of compound that can function as antioxidants. This allows them to neutralize free radicals, which can protect against certain cancers.

For example, an analysis of 13 studies showed that people with higher intake of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene had a significantly lower risk of stomach cancer[ref. 4] 

Similarly, many other studies on people have found that people with higher carotenoid intake have a lower risk of breast, throat, pancreatic and other cancers.  [Ref. 5] 

Plenty of potassium in the pumpkin

More good news on the nutritional benefits of pumpkin: studies show that higher potassium levels can reduce the risk of stroke, kidney stones and type 2 diabetes. Another bonus is that potassium can also increase the mineral density of bones, which is very important for women, especially with age. 

  1. Pumpkin (Cucurbita): Delicious and healthy fruit
    • Extremely nutritious and especially rich in vitamin A
    • A high amount of beta carotene for antioxidant properties
    • Pumpkin contains vitamins to support immunity
    • Pumpkin to support normal weight
    • Potential anti-cancer action of the pumpkin
    • Plenty of potassium in the pumpkin


Pumpkins contain carotenoids that act as antioxidants. These compounds are associated with lower risks of developing several types of cancer. This fruit vegetable also provides a wealth of nutrients to support immunity, eye health, digestion and other processes. Remarkably, it is a low-calorie and very nutritious food that can be consumed in many ways.


  1. Cucurbita
  2. ScienceDirectScience DirectScienceDirect helpElsevierRELX Group
  3. Just a moment...
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  5. Carotenoids and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis and meta-regression - Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

The author

Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 


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