Pumpkin has always had a little bit of a reputation. It’s been associated with fall for as long as I can remember. Specifically with Halloween.
In fact, most of my memories of this particular fruit from when I was a child are of jack-o-lanterns as opposed to anything food related.
I think because of this, the pumpkin doesn’t usually get associated with good health. Halloween is all about junk food and so because of the connection, pumpkin gets lumped in with that.
But it really shouldn’t, because it’s a lot healthier than people think. And because a lot of the benefits are good for development, pumpkin actually makes for perfect baby food.
Here are five of the health benefits that pumpkin has for babies:
- Protects Eye Health
Eyesight tends to be somewhat of a source of frustration for babies. In their earliest weeks and months, they can’t really see anything outside of shadows.
If you want to help speed up the process of their eyesight developing, as well as make steps towards preventing other eye-related complications later on, pumpkin will work wonders.
The big reason for this is because pumpkin is very high in Vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for good vision.
Getting enough Vitamin A will allow for your baby to see better both in daylight and at night which of course means a happier baby.
Another food that’s often linked to good vision is carrots, and the fact that both of these are bright orange is no coincidence.
They are both rich in carotenoids, which cause this orange colour and can help reduce an eye condition known as macular degeneration.
This condition starts early and is one of the causes of extreme vision loss in the elderly. So while you can take of your babies eyes, you could actually help your own eyesight with pumpkin too.
There are a lot of interesting pumpkin recipes, too so there’s no doubt that you can find a good way to work it into your diet.
So for your baby’s eyesight you should definitely take advantage of pumpkins during the fall.
- Aids in Digestion
Another thing that can be cause for distress for babies, is their bowel movements. If you’re a parent you know the struggle.
It can be hard sometimes to make sure that you have the right balance of foods to stabilize a baby’s digestive system and avoid constipation.
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber however, and you can rely on that to regulate babies’ bowel movements.
It actually has numerous more benefits for the baby’s digestive system too. It can help prevent irritation in their intestines and will kill parasitic infections such as intestinal worms.
Of course, your poor child would have to be very unlucky to end up with that particular problem but with pumpkin cleansing their intestines, they shouldn’t have too.
Make sure that the pumpkin is as soft and easy to digest as possible for this. You’re probably familiar with the appropriate consistency for baby food anyway, but just be thorough with it.
- Good for the Immune System
Although babies are generally pretty healthy, it can be scary if they start coughing or appear to be running a fever.
Usually, it’s nothing terribly serious and something that a baby’s immune system can deal with easily enough, but you can fend off these illnesses.
In addition to the Vitamin A for eyesight, pumpkin is also quite rich in Vitamin C. This, along with various other antimicrobial properties are good for keeping colds and flus at bay.
There’s also beta-carotene which is an antioxidant and will reduce oxidative stress on the organs. This can ward off diseases that could be a problem long-term like cancer and diabetes.
A single cup of cooked pumpkin is a step in the right direction towards boosting a baby’s immune system.
- Helps Your Baby Sleep
I think it’s probably pretty universal among parents that making sure babies get enough sleep is absolutely essential.
Pumpkin has something in it called tryptophan, which helps the body develop produce the chemical serotonin.
Most people are familiar with this particular chemical, now. Serotonin is linked to happiness, well-being and relaxation and the presence of it in your system helps you sleep soundly.
There’s also amino acid in pumpkin which can induce calmness and drowsiness. It should put your baby to sleep nice and efficiently.
Again, ensure that it’s well pureed and easy to digest. Regardless of what’s in your baby’s stomach, the longer it takes to digest, the longer it will take them to fall asleep.
- Supplies Essential Nutrients
Pumpkins are jam-packed with essential nutrients. Some of the most important stuff for helping your baby develop can be gained from having pumpkin in their diet.
You’ve got calcium in there which will help in the growth of stronger bones. Magnesium is also beneficial for this as well as being naturally calming.
Pumpkin is also high in phosphorus which has a whole host of benefits for a babies development.
This ranges from brain function, to digestion, maintaining tissue cells and balancing hormones. There’s also plenty of potassium in there, which regulates water balance and acid in the blood.
So these are all great for babies who are in their early stage of development of course, but the health benefits don’t stop in childhood.
As you get older, you can still get some good out of pumpkins. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are extremely valuable for many different aspects of your physical health.
Take care of your baby of course, but don’t forget about how you can benefit from this fruit too.
In short, pumpkins are more than just a Halloween decoration and an ingredient in a festive latte from Starbucks.
Parents should know that when it comes to taking care of their baby’s health, pumpkins are one of the best foods that they can include in the diet.