How does pumpkin help with skin?
Low in calories (a half a cup of canned pumpkin contains just 50 calories, no fat, no cholesterol) yet sky-high in skin-saving nutrients (it boasts 380% of your daily vitamin A intake), pumpkin is the perfect food for slimming down your body and clearing up a multitude of skin concerns. That’s why you’ll see pumpkin being used in a lot of skincare products. Here’s a closer look at how this great gourd helps your skin.
Toughens it up
Beta-carotene (a carotenoid better known as vitamin A), found in the bright orange pulp of pumpkins is known to protect skin cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. There is tremendous buzz surrounding beta-carotene because of its potential anti-cancer, anti-aging and immune-enhancing effects. Free radicals are the culprits responsible for causing poor skin tone and elasticity and wrinkles over time because they break down skin-plumping collagen and elastin, which can weaken over time. The long-term results of this breakdown are wrinkles. Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin C; another powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals.
Reduces Sunburn Risk
If you sunburn easily or have an inherited disease called erythropoietic protoporphyria, then beta-carotene can reduce the risk of sunburn. Keep in mind that beta-carotene is unlikely going to have much sunburn protective effect in most people so be sure to apply your daily sunscreen.
Pumpkin is a good source of the minerals copper and zinc. Copper plays a role in collagen, elastin and melanin production. Melanin is a pigment that determines the colour of your skin and hair, which explains why pigmentation problems may be attributed to dietary copper deficiency. Pumpkin may help fade away the brown spots left behind by acne. Zinc is thought to regulate excessive oil production in your hair follicles, which explains why increasing your intake of zinc may clear up acne. Zinc also assists in the repair of inflamed tissues, such as pimples, rashes and sunburns.
About the Author: Dr. Sara Solomon is a Toronto-based dentist and a well-knownfitness and nutrition expert.