Halloween is nearly here – pretty much the only time of year we all go out and buy a massive pumpkin!
Just like dressing up in a spooky costume and eating mountains of candy, carving a pumpkin is part and parcel of Halloween. But there's more to the humble orange squash than meets the eye; it actually has a whole host of hidden health benefits.
From improving vision to lowering blood pressure, we list why pumpkins are the health boost our bodies need.
WATCH: Make these spooky Halloween cupcakes!
Pumpkin boosts your vision
The reason why pumpkins are so good for eyesight is that they are packed full of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye and is essential for good vision. A cup of cubed pumpkin contains almost twice the recommended daily intake of the vitamin, with Vitamin A also essential for healthy skin, teeth and bones.
Try making your own pumpkin soup
Pumpkin keeps you feeling full
As well as all that Vitamin A, pumpkin is also really fibrous – and high fibre foods are known for keeping you feeling full so you don't reach for an after-dinner snack. They are also low in calories, making them an ideal ingredient for those watching their weight. The high fibre content will help to keep the heart working properly too.
Pumpkin helps you sleep
It's not just pumpkin flesh that boasts health benefits, the seeds do too. Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan, which helps you relax and unwind. And tryptophan helps the body make feel-good serotonin which can boost mood.
Carve a spooky design then cook the flesh of the pumpkin
Pumpkin fights cancer
Thanks to their high beta-carotene content, pumpkins may help prevent cancer. Previous research has found a link between the antioxidant and cancer prevention. Vitamin A and Vitamin E, also found in pumpkins, have been linked to a lowered risk of cancer as well.
Pumpkin aids muscle function
Pumpkins have a high potassium content, which helps restore the body's balance of electrolytes after a workout and regulates blood pressure and muscle function.