We use them in risottos, as a tasty side dish or in the sauce of pasta, they can also be added to the recipes to give sweetness and creaminess to cakes and muffins, we are talking about the pumpkins that have made their appearance in supermarkets and at the greengrocer. But pumpkins are also a source of antioxidants and substances useful for the well-being of the body, as also highlighted by a scientific research published a few months ago in the journal Molecules thanks to the work of a Polish team (Kostecka-Gugala et al, Molecules, 2020).
Pumpkins are the fruits of some species of the Cucurbita genus, in particular Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita pepo and Cucurbita moschata. These sweet fruits with a buttery texture are low in fat and have a low glycemic index thanks to the presence of fibers, in particular pectins. Not only that, the pumpkin also shows hypoglycemic properties due to the presence of some polysaccharides in the pulp. Among the various types of pumpkin, the Cucurbita moschata pumpkin, like the classic Butternut pumpkin, seems to show interesting antidiabetic properties and capable of stimulating the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells. Not only that, pumpkins also provide antioxidants and mineral salts. In particular, the Cucurbita moschata Kogigu pumpkin, a ribbed type of Japanese squash, is an extraordinary source of phenolic compounds and flavonoids such as kaempferol and catechins. But even the Hokkaido pumpkin, a type of smaller, orange and thin-skinned pumpkin with a skin that can be eaten together with the pulp, is very interesting and has, among all the pumpkins analyzed by the researchers, the highest ability to counteract free radicals. The Cucurbita pepo Sweet Dumbling pumpkin, considered one of the tastiest and most decorative pumpkins with its green and white streaks, and Cucurbita maxima Indomatrone, an ancient variety characterized by a turban shape and a gray-green skin, are those with the highest zinc content, such as to cover up to 15% of the daily requirement for people over 70 years of age. These same pumpkins are also characterized by the high intake of beta carotene. Indomatrone also has the highest quantity of mineral salts, such as potassium, magnesium, sulfur, iron and manganese.