Pumpkins contain potassium, various minerals and vitamins A, C and E. Health benefits include a boost to the immune system and reduced inflammation. Inflammation can lead to a variety of chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease, arthritis and type-2 diabetes.
The carotenoids that give pumpkins their bright orange color offer protection from certain cancers and heart disease. These compounds also lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. The alpha-carotene component may slow the aging process.
Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, magnesium, carotenoids, fiber and vitamin E. They also help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.
Should you decide to go on a search for your Great Pumpkin, you’ll most likely be coming home with a Howden, Connecticut Field or Jack-O’Lantern variety. These are the old-time favorites for decorating and carving.
When I was about 10, my dad grew a pumpkin that weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 pounds. Together we had carved a very scary jack-o’-lantern. It glowed from our front porch on Halloween night. At some point during the festivities, my jack-o’-lantern disappeared. Mom called the police to report the theft, but since we didn’t have enough sound evidence for a description of the pumpkin (it was big and orange) or the pranksters (they were in costume), no arrests were made. I later saw what I believed to be my pumpkin in the middle of the street, made into purée. No sugar added.