test-The Surprising Immune Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Food & Nutrition
The Surprising Immune Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Amy Sunderman, MS, RD • August 25, 2020

Pumpkin Immune Health Benefits

There are a lot of interesting facts about pumpkins that many of us aren’t aware of. For instance, did you know that pumpkins are classified as fruits and not vegetables? Or that pumpkins consist of about 90% water? One of the even lesser-known facts is that pumpkins are packed with nutrients that can be beneficial to our immune health.1

While they might not get the same spotlight as other immune-boosting fruits like oranges or elderberries, pumpkins still provide some pretty impressive vitamins to support immune function and overall wellness.

Vitamin A

Pumpkins are also a great source of vitamin A. Pumpkins contain beta-carotene which is what gives them their iconic orange color. This plant carotenoid is then converted into vitamin A within the body, which helps to maintain lung health and regulate immune cell response. Since very few carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A, this compound is a real treat from this traditional pie staple.2,3

Vitamin C

As the second top nutrient, pumpkin is also high in vitamin C. Providing almost 20% of the recommended daily amount per serving, pumpkin is a fun and simple way to enjoy the benefits of vitamin C. This immune health supporter helps neutralize damaging free radicals while also providing extra support for the immune system by promoting immune cell production and delivering antioxidant defense against free radicals.4

Vitamin E

Pumpkin seeds are loaded with immune health allies such as vitamin E. Like vitamin C, this immune supporter also helps neutralize free radicals. Vitamin E may help defend cells from oxidative stress and enhance the immune response. The average pumpkin provides around 500 seeds, so there are plenty to go around!5

Minerals

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of many minerals that promote healthy immune function, such as iron and zinc, two important nutrients that support the development of healthy immune cells. Maintaining healthy levels of these minerals is crucial for immune cell health and in regulating immune function.6,7

Another important mineral found in pumpkin seeds is magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in immunoglobulin synthesis and immune cell function.8

If you’re looking for some festive and fun ways to get more pumpkin in your diet, we have loads of pumpkin recipes ranging from no-bake desserts to healthy vegan pumpkin bread. If you don’t want to take on an entire pumpkin, or just don’t want to scrape for seeds, you can also find puree, seeds and seed oils to fit your pumpkin preferences.

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Amy Sunderman, MS, RD, Director of Science & Innovation Registered Dietitan



About Amy Sunderman, MS, RD
Director of Science & Innovation, Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health

Amy is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author with over 20 years of experience in the supplement industry. Amy is passionate about dietary supplements and the health benefits they offer. She enjoys working to find novel nutritional ingredients with strong clinical research behind them to drive innovation and provide health-promoting products to consumers.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Sources

1. Pumpkins and More. University of Illinois Extension. Read source

2. Importance of Vitamin A for Lung Function. National Library of Medicine. Read source

3. Effects of Vitamin A Supplementation on Immune Response. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. Read source

4. Vitamin C and Immune Function. PubMed. Read source

5. The Role of Vitamin E in Immunity. Nutrients. Read source

6. Iron and Immunity. Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis. Read source

7. Zinc in Human Health. Molecular Medicine. Read source

8. Roles of Magnesium on the Immune System. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Read source

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