Pumpkins remind us of the fall, a season in which everyone loves to make delicious food with pumpkins. They are everywhere when fall hits. However, the amount of acidic foods we consume makes us wonder if pumpkins are one of them.
Is Pumpkin Acidic?
Pumpkins are acidic, with a pH value of 4.9. Owing to its extensive use in desserts, it is hard to believe that it is acidic. The pH value of pumpkins should not discourage us from savoring the fruit, as pumpkins are nutrition-packed.
Is Pumpkin Healthy?
Pumpkins are highly nutritious and rich in essential vitamins and minerals. A cup of pumpkin has only 50 calories and less than a gram of fat. Therefore, it is an excellent low-calorie food. Pumpkins are also rich in magnesium, copper, potassium, and vitamin C.
They also contain antioxidants like all fruits and vegetables. Consuming antioxidants can help one’s body in many ways. One of them is reducing the amount of oxidative stress in the body. Too much oxidative stress can produce free radicals that can cause chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Our immune system plays a vital role in keeping the body safe and helps in fighting off infections. Vitamins play a crucial role in developing our immune system. Pumpkins are a rich source of vitamins that help build our immune system.
Vitamin A helps in the development of eyesight. It protects our eyes, especially when we age. Vision worsens as we age, but eating pumpkins can preserve our vision for longer.
Blood pressure regulation
In a study titled “Associations between dietary salt, potassium and blood pressure in South African adults: WHO SAGE Wave 2 Salt & Tobacco,” published in the NMCD Journal, it was concluded that consuming potassium and decreasing sodium content can help treat high blood pressure. High blood pressure can reduce the chances of cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, the National Institute of Health Office of dietary supplements reports that consuming more potassium may reduce the risk of cardiovascular heart diseases. However, more research needs to confirm the role of pumpkins in reducing the chances of stroke and other heart diseases.
Reduction of chances of cancer
In a study titled “Mitochondrial β-Carotene 9′,10′ Oxygenase Modulates Prostate Cancer Growth via NF-κB Inhibition: A Lycopene-Independent Function,” published in the AARC Journal, it was concluded that a diet rich in beta carotene could reduce the chances of prostate cancer.
Similarly, in 2014, a cross-sectional study titled “Inverse associations between serum concentrations of zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and colorectal neoplasm in Japanese,” published in the International Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggested that beta carotene slowed the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.
Preventing and controlling diabetes
A combination of two plant extracts, pumpkin polysaccharides, can control blood sugar levels, as was suggested in a study titled “Synergistic Hypoglycemic Effects of Pumpkin Polysaccharides and Puerarin on Type II Diabetes Mellitus Mice,” published in Molecules. Although the study did not include humans, the research shows some potential effects that these plants can have on diabetes type 2.
Protection against age-related eye problems
Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene compounds in pumpkins support eye health and prevent age-related macular degeneration. This has been reported in a clinical trial conducted in 2019.
Are Pumpkin Seeds Acidic?
Not only pumpkin, but pumpkin seeds are also a favorite among many people. Roasting the seeds with various seasonings to make a delicious snack or topping for salads is probably one of the most common recipes people follow.
Unlike pumpkins, surprisingly, pumpkin seeds are not acidic. They are alkaline. Eating pumpkin seeds is an excellent snack for those who suffer from symptoms of acid reflux.
Is Pumpkin Seed Oil Acidic?
Pumpkin seed oil is used for cooking purposes, to make delicious salad dressings, and is also used to make desserts. Since pumpkins are acidic, their oil is sour, although it is less acidic than the fruits. The pH of the pumpkin seed oil is 6.0 after being digested.
Can You Have Pumpkin if You Are Suffering From GERD/Acid Reflux?
While pumpkin is acidic, if you still wish to consume pumpkin or pumpkin seeds while you are suffering from GERD or Acid Reflux, then you need diet modification.
Diet modification is probably the easiest way to avoid reflux. Alkaline food items can neutralize the acidic contents of the stomach. These food items are:
- Vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, cucumber, beetroot, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, coriander, onion, peas, pumpkin, and radish.
- Fruits like bananas, apples, watermelons, figs, and pomegranates.
- Beans like moong bean sprouts, lentils, broad beans, and green beans.
- Nuts and seeds include almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Adding colorful, nutritious green salads to the diet can help in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux. Having a cup of yogurt with fruit instead of a greasy dessert dish can help you relieve acid reflux. Keeping yourself hydrated is key to decreasing the symptoms of reflux.
Avoid food items that are rich in fats. For example, fried delicacies and food items rich in sugar should be avoided in acidity.
How To Include Pumpkins In The Diet?
There are different ways in which pumpkins can be consumed. Although preparing fresh pumpkin at home has optimum benefits for health, canned pumpkin is also a great choice. This is because pumpkins retain most of their health benefits in the canning process.
Here are a few tips to include pumpkin as a part of a healthy diet:-
- Instead of buying canned pumpkins, make your pumpkin puree.
- Try to include pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin instead of oil or butter in your baking recipe.
Pumpkins are a healthy source of vitamins and contain essential minerals. It is beneficial for people with diabetes and high blood pressure and can prevent cancer. In addition, pumpkins can strengthen immunity and prevent heart diseases. In addition, it helps in preventing depression and to restore the sleep cycle. Although it is acidic and has a pH of 4.9, it can be included in moderate quantities in the diet, especially in people with acid reflux symptoms.
Age-related eye disease studies (AREDS/AREDS2). (n.d.). Nih.Gov. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://www.nei.nih.gov/research/clinical-trials/age-related-eye-disease-studies-aredsareds2
Chen, X., Qian, L., Wang, B., Zhang, Z., Liu, H., Zhang, Y., & Liu, J. (2019). Synergistic hypoglycemic effects of pumpkin polysaccharides and puerarin on type II diabetes mellitus mice. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(5), 955. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24050955
Gong, X., Marisiddaiah, R., Zaripheh, S., Wiener, D., & Rubin, L. P. (2016). Mitochondrial β-carotene 9′, 10′ oxygenase modulates prostate cancer growth via NF-κB inhibition: A lycopene-independent function. Molecular Cancer Research: MCR, 14(10), 966–975. https://doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-16-0075
Okuyama, Y., Ozasa, K., Oki, K., Nishino, H., Fujimoto, S., & Watanabe, Y. (2014). Inverse associations between serum concentrations of zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and colorectal neoplasm in Japanese. International Journal of Clinical Oncology, 19(1), 87–97. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10147-013-0520-2
Ware, L. J., Charlton, K., Schutte, A. E., Cockeran, M., Naidoo, N., & Kowal, P. (2017). Associations between dietary salt, potassium and blood pressure in South African adults: WHO SAGE Wave 2 Salt & Tobacco. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases: NMCD, 27(9), 784–791. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2017.06.017