We have quite a variety of fruits to snack on here in the Caribbean. Most times they are chosen for their health benefits, satisfying flavour or even their exotic look.
For those same reasons fruits are frequently chosen as a healthy alternative to the cheese puffs and sweet biscuits that many of us are drawn to when considering a snack. Without casting aspersions on other fruits and their undeniable benefits, a closer look at Jap pumpkin will reveal noteworthy perks for any fruit lover.
Jap pumpkin was originally called Kabocha squash/ pumpkin. This name is used in North America, UK and Japan. It is also known as Kent pumkin. Jap’ is short for Japanese pumpkin, which is what it is called in New Zealand and Australia. It is an Asian variety of winter squash from the species Cucurbita maxima.
Think of pumpkin and initially, ‘big, bright and orange’ come to mind. However this does not describe the Jap pumpkin. It’s quite robust in vitamins, which is probably why some people think of it this way.
If you’re a fan of Jap pumpkin, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s good for your digestive system. Pumpkins contain considerable amounts of fibre, which is useful for a number of bodily functions.
First off, it slows the process of digestion. How does this help? It keeps you feeling fuller for longer, and this automatically reduces the need to constantly munch on other foods. If you’re looking to control your weight, this is a key food to help you achieve that goal. ‘Fuller for longer’ might sound like you’ve consumed lots of calories but as far as that goes, pumpkins are sufficiently low in calorific content, containing only 30 calories per cup.
Furthermore, canned pumpkin is mostly water-based, making it a great hydration alternative, as well as a safe way to restore electrolytes.
Improves Your Vision
Pumpkins are packed with beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A upon digestion. Overtime, this helps the eyes adapt to dim and low-light conditions. When it comes to optical health, carrots are the go-to solution, but scientific findings have shown that pumpkins are worthy alternatives. This plentiful intake of Vitamin A also boosts the body’s ability to fight infectious diseases.
Look and Feel Youthful
In addition to helping you see the world more clearly, the pumpkin keeps you looking young as well. The large amounts of beta-carotene present in pumpkins protect the skin against UV rays, typically emitted from the sun. And of course, pumpkin face masks are admired for helping to maintain a youthful look.