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Superfood: Is pumpkin healthy for muscles or a weight gainer?

Superfood: Is pumpkin healthy for muscles or a weight gainer?

Fall is pumpkin time! The orange giant isn't just a delight for the eyes and taste buds – it's a true superfood. In this article, discover why pumpkin is healthy and why you should include it more often in your menu this year. Your muscles, your health, and even the scale will thank you!

What's inside the seasonal superfood, pumpkin

For those valuing seasonality and regional produce in their diet, skipping pumpkins in the fall would be unthinkable. But what exactly does this vegetable offer? If we examine the pumpkin purely based on its macronutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – it might not seem particularly extraordinary for athletes. With a fat content of 0.14 grams per 100 grams, it's low; its protein content, at 1.16 grams, isn't exceptionally high, and with nearly 5 grams of carbohydrates, it doesn't qualify as low-carb produce. But wait, don't jump to conclusions too quickly! When it comes to fiber, the story changes. Fiber content satisfies hunger effectively without adding many calories – ideal for weight loss. Furthermore, its glycemic load is quite low at 4.5. Now, examining its micronutrients, it becomes evident why pumpkin is regarded as a superfood (the exact content of its components varies depending on the pumpkin variety):

Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene gives pumpkin its orange color and is a precursor of vitamin A. This fat-soluble vitamin plays a role in the immune system and is essential in the cold season. It also promotes a radiant complexion, putting an end to winter paleness. Particularly interesting for active individuals: Beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage muscle tissue.

Calcium

This mineral is essential for muscles and bones. While you can't meet your entire daily calcium needs with pumpkin alone, it still contributes. Find out what else you can do for healthy bones.

Magnesium

Magnesium is crucial for muscle contraction and relaxation. A deficiency can lead to muscle cramps. Pumpkin is your friend here too – it provides a portion of your daily magnesium needs.

Discover what magnesium does in your body in the video:

Potassium

Potassium is essential for electrolyte balance and supports muscle function. Pumpkin also contains this vital mineral, helping keep your muscles in top shape.

Iron

Iron is essential for transporting oxygen in the body. Although the iron content in pumpkins isn't huge, every small amount helps ensure your muscles receive enough oxygen. Tip: Iron from plant sources is better absorbed by the body if you drink a glass of orange juice with it (or another source of vitamin C).

What's in pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin not only offers delicious flesh but its seeds are treasures for health and your muscles:

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are muscle boosters! They reduce inflammation, promote muscle recovery, improve circulation, and protect against muscle breakdown. These essential fatty acids are crucial for healthy, strong muscles. High-quality oil can be extracted from the seeds, particularly valued for its healthy fatty acids.

Many of our customers don't just want more muscles through AURUM training, they aim for Longevity – in other words, a long and healthy life. A crucial factor for this is to stop sarcopenia, the muscle loss that occurs with age. A scientific study demonstrated this effect for omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, don't fear fat in your diet if you pay attention to the right quality of fatty acids.

Minerals & vitamins

Just like in the flesh, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, iron, and calcium are present in the seeds. The magnesium content in the seeds, which stands at 285 milligrams (the daily requirement ranges between 300 and 350 milligrams), is especially noteworthy. But the seeds offer more beneficial components:

  • Zinc is a crucial nutrient for the immune system and promotes the healing of muscle injuries.
  • Find out in the article why zinc is a crucial factor for men: Muscle building – Men over 50 – Does it still work?
  • B Vitamins play a vital role in energy metabolism, helping you get the maximum performance from your training.

Protein and amino acids

With 35 grams of protein per 100 grams, pumpkin seeds are also a great plant-based protein source, supporting your muscles during growth. Additionally, they improve your mood and aid in falling asleep because they contain the amino acid tryptophan.

How to incorporate more pumpkin into your daily life

Use this fall to explore the variety of regional pumpkins. Besides well-known varieties like Hokkaido pumpkin, butternut squash, and Halloween pumpkin, there are more exotic types.

  1. Classic pumpkin soup: A warm pumpkin soup with lentils for additional protein isn't just tasty but also ideal for athletes looking to strengthen themselves after a workout. Almost every pumpkin variety is suitable for this.
  2. Pumpkin fries: A colorful alternative to regular fries! Simply cut Hokkaido pumpkin into strips, season, mix with a bit of oil, and bake – crunchy and delicious!
  3. Spaghetti squash: A clever noodle substitute with significantly fewer calories, lots of water, and plenty of fiber. Perfect for healthy weight loss.
  4. Pumpkin oil and seeds in salads: Give your salad a crispy bite or a nutty flavor by using pumpkin seeds and oil. A delicious way to pamper your muscles.
  5. Stuffed butternut squash: Kitchen creativity required! Fill a butternut squash with quinoa, vegetables, and herbs, and experience a taste explosion.
  6. Microwave pumpkin / surprise pumpkin: This pumpkin variety is perfect for quick cooking and for those who don't enjoy cooking. Just cook it in the microwave, and you have a delicious base for various dishes. If you have a bit more time, you can bake the pumpkin in a healthier way in the oven within 20 minutes.
  7. Cookies with pumpkin seed flour: Pumpkin seed flour contains significantly more protein than regular flour. You can make cookies (almost) healthy from it, although it's a bit early for cookie season, you can find a recipe for green power hearts here: 6-Minute Guezli: Soft and nutty, protein-rich, and sugar-free.

Want your weekly dose of AURUM Insights? Then subscribe to the AURUM newsletter and receive exciting information about muscle building, health, and longevity every Friday.

Sources:

https://www.ernaehrung.de/lebensmittel/de/G581122/Kuerbis-gegart.php

https://www.ernaehrung.de/lebensmittel/de/H310000/Kuerbiskern.php

https://www.ernaehrungs-umschau.de/print-artikel/14-11-2018-kuerbis

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