Anatomy of a... Pumpkin

WebMD Feature
Reviewed By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

You may think of it simply as a Halloween jack-o'-lantern, but the pulp from this low-fat, low-sodium vegetable is an ancient, healthful power food.

One cup of cooked pumpkin has 564 mg of potassium, 2650 IU of vitamin A (providing an amazing 310% RDA) and just 80 calories.

The orange color isn't just for show- It means the pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant: beta carotene.

Adding beta carotene to your diet could reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including prostate, and protect against heart disease. In the past, this staple was used to treat various ailments, including snakebites and...freckles!

RECIPES

Low-Carve Treat: Pumpkin Potato Soup

(Makes 5 servings)

3 cups mashed potatoes, made with low-fat milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
11/2 cups fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk
11/2 cups shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste (optional)
5 tbsp fat-free or light sour cream