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8 Benefits Of Pumpkins You Didn’t Know About

8 Benefits Of Pumpkins You Didn’t Know About

Although it may not seem like it, there’s far more to pumpkins than carving and pie. This orange vegetable deserves the title of superfood, because it has a huge range of health benefits, most of which people don’t even know about. Let’s take a look at the hidden health benefits of pumpkins, and why you should start incorporating them into your regular diet.

1. Weight Loss

Surprisingly, considering that it’s so high in fiber, pumpkin is an extremely low-calorie vegetable. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains a mere 49 calories, but you will feel satisfied for longer due to the fiber content. This aids in weight loss, because you’ll stay full for longer without having to digest a lot of calories. Furthermore, pumpkin is fat free!

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2. Digestive Health

As we established previously, pumpkin is rich in fiber, which means it’s incredibly beneficial for the general well-being of your digestive system. In addition, it can be used as a home remedy for constipation. A single cup will make up roughly 11% of your daily recommended dose of fiber.

3. Vision

Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A, which is the primary nutrient that works towards keeping your eyes healthy. Also, it helps in the health and maintenance of your immune and reproductive systems. The aforementioned half-cup of cooked pumpkin contains a staggering 953 mg of vitamin A.Your eye health is further aided by the zeaxanthin contained within the vegetable. Zeaxanthin is an antioxidant that helps to filter UV light in the macula lutea of your retinas. This is highly beneficial in preventing age-related macular degeneration, particularly later in life.

4. Iron

There is a fair amount of iron in pumpkins, which is particularly important if you are a vegetarian or vegan. You need iron because it it is one of the key components of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to different parts of your body. Iron deficiency can seriously affect your health, as well as deteriorate your mental capabilities and resistance to infection and disease. As such, it’s absolutely imperative to ensure you’re getting enough. One cup of pumpkin has just under 10% of your daily iron requirements.

5. Tissue Growth and Repair

One cup of pumpkin contains an impressive 20% of your required daily dose of vitamin C. This is important, because this nutrient is responsible for keeping your immune system healthy. It’s also needed to help your body repair old and create new tissue, which is imperative if you’re someone who likes to exercise.

6. Cancer Prevention

There’s a reason that pumpkins are that bright orange color, and it’s definitely not just for show! Like its other orange vegetable counterparts, pumpkins contains an antioxidant called beta-carotene. In addition to providing pumpkin with its distinct color, beta-carotene may also help prevent cancer, as tests have shown. Make sure you keep those seeds too, though, because studies have also shown that the plant sterols in them may also help fight off different kinds of cancer.

7. Exercise Supplement

Move over, bananas, there’s a new natural energy booster in town. Our single cup of pumpkin contains roughly 564 mg of potassium, whereas its yellow counterpart clocks in at only 422 mg. Potassium helps after a workout because it aids in restoring lost electrolytes as well as keeping your muscles working the way they should.

8. Bone and Heart Health

Just in case you haven’t had enough nutrients, pumpkin is also rich in vitamin K. Comparatively, this seems to be a lesser-known nutrient, but it’s incredibly important for your health. This is because it helps your bones to grow and keep your heart healthy. Luckily, a cup of pumpkin will provide you with 20% of your recommended daily dose.

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Tegan Jones

Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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