Pumpkin is the fruit of several plants of the Cucurbitaceae family. The pumpkin, depending on the type, may have a round or elongated shape, a smooth or lumpy skin and a more or less sweet pulp with inside flat and white seeds. In general, the pulp of the pumpkin is a powerful source of beneficial substances while it is considered poor in calories, around 26kcal per 100 grams. The pumpkin brings mineral salts, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc, vitamins, such as A, important for the eyesight, the health of the skin and the immune system, the E, which fights free radicals, the K, important for the correct blood coagulation, and group B, including riboflavin or vitamin B2, protective for the eyes and, according to preliminary scientific studies, able to counteract eye cataracts (USDA Database - NIH Office of dietary supplements - Gilbert, Community Eye Health, 2013 - Vermeer, Food Nutr Res, 2012). Finally, the pumpkin also contains important antioxidants such as beta carotene, which helps protect the skin from sun damages and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties (Young Kim et al, Nutr Res Pract, Feb 2012). Generally, the pumpkin is contraindicated in case of diabetes and liver pathologies due to the presence of vitamin A that could overload this organ. Let's look at cooking methods and food combinations to make the most of the properties of this vegetable.
Pumpkin and extra virgin olive oil
When the pumpkin is cooked in boiling olive oil, vitamin K is made highly available. Vitamin K is a type of fat-soluble vitamin. The combination given by pumpkin and olive oil therefore can be used in case of hemorrhagic syndromes, and therefore bleeding for prolonged periods, in preparation for surgical procedures or platelet disorders (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of food). Not only that, this food combination also benefits from the action of magnesium, calcium and potassium, which have a sedative and calming effect, useful if you suffer from anxiety. Finally, a consideration, frying or cooking in oil, as demonstrated by scientific research, maintains or even increases the antioxidant power of the pumpkin (Pilar Ramirez Anaya et al., Food Chem, 2015). Here are some ideas to exploit this food combination, always guaranteeing the supply of food antioxidants. You can fry the pumpkin. In this case the pulp should be cut into thin slices and fried in boiling olive oil for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can prepare a soup, excellent in the evening especially if you suffer from insomnia. Cook the pumpkin cut into pieces in a little extra virgin olive oil until the pulp is very soft. Blend the pumpkin, add a glass of soy cream and the soup is ready.
Pumpkin and garlic
This combination is excellent in case of weak immune system and for an anticancer action thanks to the synergy between these two foods. For example, you can finely chop the garlic and brown it in extra virgin olive oil, then add the pumpkin pieces and cook for 5 minutes. Season with rosemary and here you have got a tasty and healthy side dish!