Pumpkin Hair Benefits
Besides its benefits in skincare, pumpkin offers several benefits for your hair, thanks to its rich nutritional value. As we all know, hair follicles require adequate supply of nutrients for their optimal growth and health. Pumpkin is beneficial for your hair in the following ways.
Promotes Hair Growth
Pumpkin is a rich source of minerals including potassium and zinc. Potassium helps in keeping hair healthy and improve re-growth. Zinc helps maintain collagen and thus play an important role in promoting healthy hair. It also contains folate, an important B vitamin that stimulates hair growth by improving blood circulation.
Great Conditioner for Dry Hair
If you have dry hair, you can prepare a simple hair conditioner using pumpkin. All you need to do is mix 2 cups of chopped and cooked pumpkin with 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon yoghurt. Make a puree with the mixture of pumpkin and yogurt in a food processor or blender. Then add coconut oil and honey to make a smooth mixture. Apply it to damp shampooed hair, wear a plastic shower cap and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly and style as usual.
Health Benefits of Pumpkins
This brightly colored, “cheerful looking” vegetable is rich in plenty of nutrients, making it a very valuable vegetable from the health perspective. It is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, flavonoids and antioxidants such as xanthin, carotenes and leutin. It is also a good source of B complex vitamins like folate, niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin. Mineral wise, it is rich in iron, copper, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. The health benefits of pumpkin include:
Low in Calories
Pumpkin is a very low calorie vegetable. 100 grams of pumpkin provide only 26 calories. Most of the dieticians recommend pumpkin in their weight reduction programs.
Rich Source of Beta Carotene
The distinctive bright orange color of pumpkin indicates that it is a rich source of beta carotene. People who eat a diet rich in beta carotene are less likely to develop cancer. Beta-Cryptoxanthin and carotenoids in pumpkin decrease the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
Rich Source of Potassium
Potassium is an important mineral required for proper functioning of the heart and muscles. One serving of pumpkin provides around 550 g of potassium, making it one of the highest sources of potassium. You can add pumpkin to your post workout snack or meal for the extra potassium boost.
Boosts Immune System
Pumpkin provides ample amounts of magnesium for maintaining muscle function and boosting the immune system. It boosts the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells in the body. This builds a resistance to various kinds of infections like cold, flu and fever.
Rich Source of Fiber
Pumpkin is a rich source of fiber. 1 cup of cooked pumpkin contains 3 grams of fiber, about 11 percent of your recommended daily intake of fiber. This aids in digestion and prevents constipation. It also keeps the stomach full for longer periods of time.
Reduces Stress and Depression
Lack of tryptophan in the body often leads to depression. Pumpkin is rich in L-tryptophan, an amino-acid which reduces depression and stress. The sedative properties of pumpkin are very effective in curing insomnia.
Rich Source of Vitamin A
Pumpkin is an excellent source of Vitamin A. This nutrient is required to keep the eye healthy and maintain good vision. Zea-xanthin in pumpkin has UV rays filtering actions in the retina of the eyes. This protects from the age-related macular diseases in the elderly.
Rich Source of Vitamin K
Pumpkin is one of the best sources of Vitamin K. It contains around 40% of the daily recommended dose. Vitamin K is very beneficial for the health of bones and heart. Vitamin C in pumpkin is needed for proper growth and repair of the tissues in the body. One serving of pumpkins provides 20% of the daily recommended dosage.
How to Select and Store?
Selection: Pumpkins are available in various shapes, sizes and colors. They can grow up to 100 pounds but the smallest ones with tender flesh are most suitable for consuming. The first step is to check the stem of the pumpkin. Squeeze the stem to ensure that it is solid and firmly attached. A soft stem indicates that the pumpkin is not fresh and will not last long. Examine the entire pumpkin for soft spots and if you find any soft spot, move on to the next one. The stem gives character to the pumpkin. Hence, it should not be lifted by its stem as it is more likely to break.
As far as the color is concerned, it should be uniform. Patches of green indicate that the pumpkin was not ripe when picked and is not likely to ripen further. The shape of the pumpkin depends upon your personal preference.
Select those pumpkins which are free from blemishes, bruises and dents as these might cause the pumpkins to rot quickly. Look closely at the bottom of the pumpkin for molds and pinholes. Molds on the pumpkin indicate that it is already rotting while the pinholes indicate that the insects have started to eat the pumpkin and it is not likely to last long. The pumpkins should be small and heavy for their size as they have tender and more flavorful flesh.
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