Pumpkin diet - Health benefits of pumpkin
This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.
Pumpkin is a vegetable that usually grows in the autumn, and a pumpkin diet is best followed in that time of year. It contains a high amount of water (up to 92%), but is also rich in many minerals, carbohydrates and vitamins.
What pumpkin contains?
Pumpkin is a very healthy food.
Vitamins contained in the pumpkin include:
- Thiamine (vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Vitamin B6
- Folate (Vitamin B9)
- Hydroxocobalamin (vitamin B12)
- Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- Tocopherol (vitamin E)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K (pumpkin is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin K)
Minerals contained in the pumpkin include:
In addition, pumpkin contains very small quantities of protein and even less fat (only 0.10 g of fat in 100 grams of pumpkin). From carbohydrates, the most represented are dietary fiber and complex sugars. One cup (115 grams) of pumpkin contains only 30 calories. It also contains alkaloids and flavonoids (which exhibit numerous beneficial effects on health).
Pumpkin is an important natural source of vitamin K (this plays an important role in blood clotting). Because of the high content of vitamin K, patients who are on anticoagulant therapy or taking medications such as:
Pumpkin can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can boil it, stew it and bake it in the oven or on the grill. It can be used for preparing both savory and sweet dishes. It's great for making salads or sauces. A favorite dish of many is pumpkin soup, which has a wonderful taste.
Health benefits of pumpkin
Because of its composition, pumpkin has many positive effects on health. It has been proved that pumpkin has the following effects:
- Anti-cancer effect (prevention of cancer)
- Antioxidant effect
- Anti-diabetic effect (a beneficial effect in diabetics)
- Anti-inflammatory effect (reduces inflammation)1
In a study conducted on mice, it has been proven that pumpkin seed oil has an antihypertensive effect (lowers high blood pressure), and works just as good as amlodipine - one of the most widely used drugs in the treatment of high blood pressure.2 Pumpkin seed oil also has a cardio protective effect (improves heart function).
Pumpkin is perfect for weight loss. How?
By increasing the release of glucose from its reserves in the body and accelerating its use for energy. This means that you will have excess energy while you are on a pumpkin diet and that you'll need to spend that excess energy (through exercise, off course) in order to get the full effect of the diet. Make sure that you walk, run or do exercise for at least 40 minutes a day.
You'll definitely lose weight even if you do not exercise, but the effect will be halved.
Pumpkin seed oil is very valuable in pharmacy and you can generally find it in local pharmacies. In addition to the above listed cardio protective effects, this oil also acts positively on hair growth in men.
In a study conducted on 76 men, the effect of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth in men was investigated. One group of men was taking a placebo and another group was taking 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil. After 6 months, men taking pumpkin seed oil had hair growth of 40% while men taking the placebo had hair growth of 10%. This effect is associated with the anti-androgenic effects of the pumpkin seed oil.3 During this study, any adverse effects of this oil have not been observed.
Pumpkin seed oil is also used in the treatment of benign prostate enlargement.
Pumpkin diet - diet plan
The diet lasts two weeks and you will see a loss of 6 - 10 pounds (2.5 - 4 kg) for these two weeks.
Here is the diet plan:
- Breakfast: 1 1/2 cup (5 oz. or 150 grams) of pumpkin baked in oven
- Lunch: 7 oz. (200 grams) of pumpkin risotto (prepared with onions, carrots, mushrooms and rice)
- Dinner: Pumpkin salad with pineapple and apple
- Breakfast: 5 oz. (150 grams) of pumpkin puree
- Lunch: 8 oz. (250 grams) of pumpkin lasagna (recipe can be found on the Internet)
- Dinner: 4 oz. (125 grams) of pumpkin stew
- Breakfast: 3 oz. (100 grams) of salted pumpkin pie
- Lunch: 3 oz. (100 grams) of pumpkin soup and 3 oz. of roasted chicken white meat
- Dinner: Pumpkin salad with apples
- Breakfast: 5 oz. of pumpkin cooked with carrots and cauliflower
- Lunch: 1 cup of pumpkin soup and 6 oz. of fried pumpkin with cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower
- Dinner: One banana and one apple
After the fourth day, the diet is repeated. The fifth day is the same as the first day, the sixth day is the same as the second and so on.
The diet should last two weeks. Then you should discontinue diet, eat normally for at least one month and after that you can start the diet again.
And let me repeat again: the pumpkin diet is not recommended for people who are on anticoagulant therapy.
Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.