Who would’ve thought that the same pumpkin that is used to make the sugar-filled and calorie-rich pumpkin pie can also be used to help you reach your weight loss goal while enhancing your workout performance?
For the athletes out there looking for a healthy and organic alternative to sugary protein bars, just head on over to your nearest pumpkin patch. Since we’re nearing the fall season, it’s the perfect time of year. Pumpkins have been known to be full of nutrients that are beneficial to athletic performance and recovery. Here’s how.
Workout and Weight Loss Benefits of Pumpkins
Even though this bright orange gourd has often been associated with Jack-O-Lanterns and sugar-laden desserts, many people often forget that pumpkins are actually a nutritional powerhouse full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Promotes Fullness and Strengthens Digestive Health
Fresh pumpkin contains mostly fiber, which helps you to feel satisfied after a meal and fight off food cravings by keeping you fuller longer. Feelings of fullness are especially important for those who may want to lose body fat.
Fiber is also essential for digestive and gastrointestinal health. If you are considering using pumpkin for either of these benefits, consider using canned pumpkin because it contains more fiber. The difference in fiber between fresh pumpkin and canned pumpkin is due to the fact that canned pumpkin is much more concentrated and has less water content than fresh pumpkin.
Helps Build and Maintain Strong Bones
Pumpkin is also an exceptional source of vitamin A, which is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that helps build strong bones and regulates the development of cells. Just half a cup of cooked pumpkin offers up over 100 percent of your recommended intake of vitamin A, which will help keep your eyesight sharp and bones strong.
Supports Muscle Growth
After you use pumpkins for your pumpkin carvings, make sure you save the seeds because they’re very useful for muscle building. Not only are pumpkin seeds a wonderful source of zinc, which is a micronutrient responsible for cell metabolism and immunity, they are also filled with magnesium, an important cofactor involved in ATP energy production that creates glucose.
Glucose is our body’s source of energy during exercise because we’re more efficient at converting it to energy. Pumpkins provide us with the fuel we need to exercise, and more fuel means we can perform at a higher level for a longer period which helps build muscle.
Prevents Sore Muscles and Burn Out
When we have a good workout, we lose electrolytes. Pumpkins are useful for restoring our electrolytes after hard workouts since they are loaded with electrolytes like calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Low potassium levels can cause cramping and early onset fatigue. The good thing is, just one cup has 564 milligrams of potassium, 100 milligrams more than the amount of potassium in a banana, which can prevent sore muscles and burn out during your workout.