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Pumpkin Is a Powerful Ally Against
Diabetes
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By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist



Pumpkins are a vegetable not unlike a background singer. You
love their sound, you know you should appreciate them more,
and maybe learn their names and you feel guilty that you don't
but you never seem to give them the attention they deserve.

The humble pumpkin just waist its turn, every year, until
Thanksgiving, when it finally emerges from the troop of
background singers to take center stage.  And when they do,
they belt it out. What a voice! We carve them, we mash them,
we make pies out of them and we gorge. Then we forget them
until next year.

But what if we could strike a more balanced relationship with
the pumpkin? How would eating more pumpkin throughout the
year improve our help, especially if we are diabetic?

Diabetes is the scourge on the body of America and indeed the
developed world. Over 9% of Americans are diabetic,
amounting to over 29 million people, as of 2012, according to
the American Diabetes Association.

But this estimate may be way too low. A 2015 study published
in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that
between 12% and 14% of Americans are diabetic, and another
37% are pre-diabetic.

What this means is that fully half of Americans are either
diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Clearly, we in America are in a diabetes crisis.


Enter the Humble Pumpkin -- What It Can Do to Help Diabetes



The scientific name for pumpkin is "cucurbita", specifically
"cucurbita pepo".  Pumpkins are native to North America and
are believed to have been introduced to European pilgrims by
native Americans.

Here are the key ways pumpkins can help fight diabetes:





























1.
Pumpkin Has an Incredibly Low Glycemic Index Value

One of the keys to controlling diabetes if you already have it or
avoiding becoming diabetic if you are not, is to eat foods which
do not significantly raise your blood sugar levels, called "low
glycemic index"  foods.

Table sugar has a glycemic index value of 100. In contrast
pumpkin is a low glycemic index food, with a value of only "3"
for a serving size of one cup of diced pumpkin.

2.
Pumpkin May Even Regenerate Pancreas Cells


Your pancreas is responsible for producing the insulin you need
to help control your blood sugar levels. In Type 1 diabetes, the
pancreas is totally unable to produce any insulin.

With Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces too little insulin to
manage your blood sugar levels.

Pumpkin has shown a remarkable ability to regenerate
pancreatic cells which had been damaged. The 2007 study,
from China, examined the pancreatic cells of rats and has not
been replicated by any other university in the West, so we
cannot say definitively that pumpkin can regenerate pancreas
cells. But the research is promising and should be followed up
by other unversities.


3.
Pumpkins Are Used as a Traditional Food to Fight Diabetes in
Other Cultures


Mauritius is a an island located off the eastern coast of Africa in
the Indian Ocean.  Mauritius have a diabetes prevalence of
24.5%, according to a 2016 study from the University of
Mauritius.

Among followers of traditional medicine, the most frequently
used plants against diabetes were from the family of plants that
includes pumpkins. As the scientists noted, "the fruit of
Cucurbita maxima was reported to be used against type 2
diabetes, and in wound healing, its leaves were used against
cataract while its seeds were used against renal failure."

92% of the participants in the studies reported that they felt
their health in terms of diabetes management improved after
using the traditional pumpkin-like plants.

4. Pumpkins Are Incredibly Low in Calories


One of the key risk factors for developing diabetes is obesity.
Here, too, pumpkins can be a powerful ally. Pumpkins contain
only 30 calories per cup.  A cup of pumpkin soup in winter can
help to fill you up, staving off hunger between meals, and
helping to manage your weight.

It's important to be very careful about the commercial brand of
pumpkin soup you select, if you don't make your own from
scratch. Though a cup of raw pumpkin only contains a single
milligram of salt , some commercial pumpkin soup brands can
be notoriously high in salt.


5. Pumpkins Help to Lower Glucose Levels

Several studies have found that pumpkins contain compounds
which lower the glucose levels in rats, including a 2013 study
from Southern Yangtze University.

What these studies have not yet achieved is a complete
explanation of exactly which compounds in pumpkins lower
glucose levels.








































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What Do You Think?
Pumpkins are one of the lowest
glycemic index foods, which
can reduce
your risk of Type 2 diabetes
dramatically.