Happy Autumn from your Brookline dentist team! As we enter the fall and winter months, prepare to see pumpkins everywhere. This is great news for your smile, as pumpkins and their seeds are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Both the fruit of the pumpkin vine and its seeds are considered superfoods because of the health benefits they provide. Here we’ll discuss why your Brookline dentist recommends pumpkin.
Where Did They Come From?
Pumpkins provided the Mayans and Aztecs their substantial nutrients since before 5500 BC. Making their way from Central America to Europe, pumpkins were documented in English savory and sweet pie recipes from the 1500s. The Wampanoag tribe is said to have shared pumpkins with early colonists during what we refer to as the First Thanksgiving. In the 1800s, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, establishing this deeper as part of our culture. Pumpkin pie is so much a part of our Thanksgiving traditions that a town in Connecticut postponed their Thanksgiving when a molasses shortage threatened their demand for pies. Eventually in the 1900s, the supply-end of the market caught up with the demand for pumpkin everything, and canned them for us to purchase from grocery shelves… where we still see them today unless it’s October of November.
Why Are Pumpkins Healthy?
Pumpkins are so healthy that these superfoods and their seeds are often recommended by dieticians for their high water content (94%), low caloric intake (50 calories per cup), and density of nutrients. Their serious health benefits include improving glucose tolerance, providing fiber, acting as a mild diuretic for help getting rid of waste, increasing insulin, and the list goes on. Their nutrient-density and high water content help you manage food cravings to maintain a healthy weight.
Beta-carotene, a precursor for Vitamin A, allows you to strengthen your immune system and fight infection. Healthy gums are supported by Vitamin B-complex. Collagen protein (Vitamin C) keeps your skin healthy and works like a natural sunblock. Vitamins C and E neutralize free radicals (preventing cancer) and provide antioxidants (preventing aging). Vitamin E, iron, and folate support your immune system too. If you’re active, consider replacing your lost electrolytes with pumpkin, as they provide more potassium than bananas! Potassium and calcium together will strengthen your teeth. All of these nutrients provide a perfect cocktail of gum disease- and gingivitis-prevention.
What Else Do You Recommend?
Brookline dentist recommends pumpkin being added, along with other superfoods into your diet for good oral health. There are infinite ways to add pumpkin to your diet over the next couple of seasons that benefit your smile. Remember that pumpkin lattes and baked goods, or other items containing artificial syrups or flavorings, aren’t going to give you the health benefits that the pumpkin fruit or seeds do, and instead, add sugar to your diet. Go ahead and indulge in pumpkin everything… in moderation. Brushing and flossing are equally important to your health as your diet. Remember to brush and floss after enjoying that pumpkin spiced latte or slice of pie! Pop over to our Facebook page to stay up to date with other tips until your next dental appointment.