Pumpkin ‘superfood’ for heart, nerves and mood

The teacher of dietetics and nutrition: “Contraindications are almost non-existent”

Queen of the autumn table and symbol of Halloween, pumpkin is a true ‘superfood’ that is good for the heart, nerves, mood and more.

It is a vegetable “with excellent nutritional values ​​and… many beneficial properties for the body and its health – immunologist Mauro Minelli, professor of dietetics and human nutrition at the Lum University of Bari, explains to Adnkronos Salute -. A large cucurbit, healthy and tasty, on a health level. Possible interferences with the therapeutic intake of lithium are known, but pumpkin has almost no contraindications. Under a thick and hard rind, it hides a sweet and pulpy heart: it is low in calories, fats and proteins but abundant in water and vitaminsmainly A and C. Many minerals, among which above all potassiumfundamental support for the proper functioning of the heart and nervous system”.

Pumpkin also contains magnesium and phosphorus in fair quantities, calcium, folate and beta-carotene, which in turn is a precursor of vitamin A and responsible for the characteristic yellow-orange colour. And then the fibers – continues the immunologist – very useful for promoting intestinal transit by rebalancing the flora and contributing to the control of body weight thanks to the induction of a persistent feeling of satiety. The presence of is also conspicuous tryptophan from which serotonin originates, known for regulating mood; for this reason pumpkin can be considered a good adjuvant in the treatment of states of stress or sleep disorders or nervous hunger”.

Furthermore, “the presence of the so-called good fats in the pumpkin, the so-called Omega 3, allows you to keep blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides under control and to combat atherosclerosis. Its seeds are also edible and are a concentrate of nutrients: minerals, proteins, fats – he observes – They are delicious toasted, added to yogurt or in salads. Often, especially in southern Italy, they are consumed as a snack or as a pastime, considering the time it takes to shell and eat them. In the seeds, but also in the pulp of the pumpkin, cucurbitin is also contained, an exclusive amino acid with a strategic role that can be used in the treatment of intestinal parasitosis, but with a strong protective action of the urinary tract, which makes the pumpkin useful in cases of cystitis or prostatitis. The contents of the pumpkin, therefore, must be consumed in their entirety, since nothing should be thrown away. The logical consequence of this assumption – concludes Minelli – is that if the inside of the pumpkin is useful and precious, what should be discarded are the empty pumpkins, leathery on the outside but with nothing inside. Yes, you have to be wary of those.”