Top 5 Skin Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin and other winter squash have many benefits for your skin. Here’s 5 great reasons why healthy pumpkin is such a great superfood for improving your skin’s tone and appearance.
1. Antioxidant Carotenoids
Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and other carotenoids found in the bright orange pulp of pumpkins can help defend your skin cells against oxidative damage.
Free radicals from environmental pollutants and UV light can start to break down the connective collagen and elastin that holds our skin together. The long-term results of this collagen and elastin breakdown are wrinkles and other signs of aging.
A good intake of antioxidant carotenoids in your diet from vegetables like pumpkins has been shown to help protect cells from free radical damage which leads to skin aging.
Dietary carotenoid supplementation has also been associated with less roughness and scaling of the skin’s surface.
2. Pumpkin and Vitamin C
Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin C, well known to protect skin from free radical derived oxidative damage that can lead to poor tone, wrinkles and even skin cancer.
Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen and elastin, the connective proteins that maintain skin’s firmness and elasticity. Eating vitamin C rich foods may help promote collagen production over time for better tone and appearance.
For more immediate effects, many people report very positive results with topical vitamin C preparations for stimulating collagen production.
Vitamin C can be unstable in solution so it needs to be prepared correctly. Ideally a good topical vitamin C treatment, like this one I use, should also avoid the potentially toxic chemicals found in many face creams.
3. Minerals in Pumpkin
Pumpkin and winter squash are good source of minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium and iron. They are also rich in copper and zinc that can be especially beneficial for healthy skin.
Copper is another nutrient that is important for collagen and elastin production. Copper is also involved in creating melanin in your body which provides pigment for both skin and hair color. Pigmentation problems may be associated with a copper deficiency in the diet.
Zinc is an essential mineral for healthy skin and many people are believed to be deficient in it. Dietary zinc is said to help regulate excessive sebum production in the follicles and increasing your intake of zinc is often reported to help clear up acne problems.
Zinc is also vital for wound healing and is an anti-inflammatory that may assist with skin problems like dermatitis. Raw pumpkin seeds are an even more concentrated source of zinc.
4. Pumpkin Vitamins
Aside from the vitamin C already mentioned, and the potential vitamin A from alpha and beta-carotene conversion, pumpkin contains a good amount of vitamin K and some vitamin E for healthy skin.
Pumpkin and winter squash also have most of the B vitamins in varying amounts. Of these, niacin and folate are of particular interest for their skin benefits.
Niacin improves circulation in the body which helps provide more nutrients and stimulate skin cell turnover and renewal. Acne problems may also respond to more niacin in the diet.
Other good sources of niacin include mushrooms, tomatoes and green superfoods like spinach. Organic chicken and wild salmon are also high sources.
Pumpkin is rich in folate which is needed for red blood cell development and healthy circulation. This is important for your skin as good circulation will provide the oxygen and nutrients to increase cell growth, turnover and renewal.
In fact, skin cell creation is dependent on folate and some conditions like seborrheic dermatitis and vitiligo have been linked to folate deficiency.
5. High Fiber for Better Digestion
Good digestive health has many benefits for our skin. Even with the best creams and treatments it’s hard to achieve healthy appearance with a sluggish intestinal tract loaded with toxins.
Poor digestion and elimination for instance will often show up as a tired face and unhealthy looking skin. Pumpkin and winter squash may help here as well with their high levels of dietary fiber to get things properly moving in your digestive tract.
There is another interesting way that pumpkin can be used for better skin and it’s not by eating them. The peel of pumpkins is particularly high in compounds that nourish and enhance our skin. Next is a look at how to use the skin benefits of pumpkin externally with a special facial treatment.
Photo 1 credit with thanks: bucklava
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