SERVING SIZE: 1/2 c
How Can Pumpkin Make You Feel Great?
Sit Back & Relax
Pumpkins have long been utilized as a natural sedative. The earth element predominates pumpkin, making it a heavy, grounding and nutritive ingredient. This earthy quality gives pumpkin its natural relaxant effect and makes it a comforting option in times of stress. Enjoy a steamy bowl of pumpkin soup on a blustery autumn day to bring a sense of calm to a swirling mind or relieve agitated thoughts. Many clients have confirmed the comforting quality of pumpkin. One describes it as, "Very comforting [and] grounding, like a security blanket," while another shares a similar experience, and notes how it was both "physically and mentally" grounding. This mild sedative effect, supported by its magnesium and potassium content, helps reduce tension in the body and relax the muscles. After eating pumpkin, you may feel a little sleepier than normal. This is due to its tryptophan content which encourages sound sleep and balances moods by increasing serotonin. A pinch of nutmeg compliments, and further enhances, the relaxing effect of pumpkin.
Soothe & Protect
The gooey, demulcent qualities of cooked pumpkin coats the digestive tract and acts like a protective barrier to the mucus membranes. This can actually be felt as you swallow the soft pumpkin. As one client describes it, "It felt like it was coating my mouth and insides protectively." Pumpkin is particularly pacifying for Pitta dosha as it is mildly sweet, cool in energy and drying by nature. These attributes of pumpkin give it an anti-inflammatory effect for soothing ulcers, acid reflux, an irritated gut, and in cases of a hot, burning digestive tract. Another client, who regularly experiences a hot digestive tract, reaped the rewards of this Pitta pacifying vegetable and notes, "It felt soothing in my upper GI which is highly acidic and easily aggravated."
The glowing amber hues of pumpkin skin can increase the lustre and glow of your skin too. Pumpkins contain high levels of beta-carotene, a pigment that gives certain fruits and vegetables their rich orange, yellow and red colors. The body converts this beta-carotene into Vitamin A which benefits the skin, the eyes and balances Pitta dosha. This, along with pumpkin's Vitamin C and E content, plays an essential role in the health, development and maintenance of the skin by minimizing cell damage caused by free radicals and protecting the skin from premature aging, leaving it feeling soft and supple. In Ayurveda, these anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients are recognized as playing an important part of rejuvenation of the body (rasayana) as they help slow down the aging process, enhance longevity and regeneration of cells. The body can also be massaged with pumpkin oil to promote healthy skin.
Light & Satisfying Food for Weight Loss
Don't let the association with rich pumpkin pie skew your vision of this vegetable and its role in weight loss. Even though pumpkin satisfies the stomach, it is light and dry in nature. This means it can be part of a diet supporting weight loss and balancing Kapha dosha. Pumpkin's earthy quality and high fibre content leave you feeling fuller for longer. A client shared this nourishing experience, "I was full for a very long time after eating the pumpkin soup and I really didn't expect this from veggie soup." Even though it is comforting, it feels light in the stomach and has a low calorie content, benefiting weight loss. You can actually experience the lightness of pumpkin for yourself. One client summarized this sensation clearly, "Pumpkin feels heavy and dense when you pick it up... I thought it would be heavy and dense on my tongue. But when you actually eat it, it has a light airy texture."
Effect on Digestion
For most people, pumpkin can help promote a regular bowel movement by both bulking and softening the stools. Pumpkin's demulcent qualities and soluble fibre content softens stools, while insoluble fiber adds bulk and can relieve constipation. Many of our clients have experienced this action of pumpkin first hand, with one remarking, "I had a large stool after eating pumpkin and felt very relieved." Another noticed how it kept digestion regular, even when going through a period of increased stress. She writes, "Usually during times like this, I either get constipated or have painful, burning elimination. I've noticed that the pumpkin has helped my elimination to stay somewhat normal, despite the extreme stress." Pumpkin's soothing effect is especially helpful for those with inflamed or irritated bowels.
However, not all digestive systems are created equal, and some people, particularly Vata types, can experience gas and constipation as pumpkin is cold and difficult to digest. Perhaps you never even thought about pumpkin as being a cold vegetable until now, and shared the experience with this client, "I never noticed the cool quality in pumpkin. I think this is because I always combine [it] with heating spices which, perhaps, balance out the cold." The cold, dry and light nature of pumpkin can lead to excessive gas for some. As one client noted, "I ate the pumpkin early afternoon, by the time I went to bed around 10.30pm I was extremely gassy." It just so happens that pumpkin pairs perfectly with some warming digestive spices such as nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. These spices help keep your tummy nice and toasty and dispel the gas that dry pumpkin can create. Vata types can also benefit from adding a little ghee, a pinch of mineral salt and even a squeeze of lemon in savory dishes to improve digestibility and balance the dryness of pumpkin.
BUYING & PREPARATION
COOKING PUMPKINBrowse Recipes
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WHY SHOULD YOU EAT AYURVEDICALLY?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Foods that supplement your specific body type’s needs and digest easily create your menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Is Pumpkin Good for Me?
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Energy Vitality Strength:
Heart & Circulation:
ALTERATIVELiterally, an herb that restores the proper function of the body. In practice, alteratives are usually blood cleansers and blood chemistry balancers. They were traditionally used to revitalize and detoxify after a long winter.
Liver & Gall Bladder:
LIVOTONICAn herb that strengthens the liver. It is helpful for people with a history of substance abuse, chronic liver issues from hepatitis and hemolytic anemias.
Mind, Stress & Sleep:
Makes you tired,
MAKES-YOU-TIREDInduces drowsiness and promotes sound sleep.
RELAXES-EYESEases tension in eye muscles, so the eyes feel less strained, often by supporting the liver.
RELAXES-MINDReduces mental agitation, irritation, stress and racing thoughts.
RELIEVES-TENSIONAn herb that releases tightness, constriction, and rigidity in a muscle.
SEDATIVESedative herbs create a sense of calm in the mind and body by specifically calming or quieting the nervous system. Excellent for anxiety, stress and chronic pain.
MUSCLE-RELAXANTHerbs that relax muscles. Helpful for chronic pain or tension as well as healing from physical trauma.
RELIEVES-BURNINGHerbs that soothe a burn or reduce an internal burning sensation, such as aloe vera.
(Not you? Keep scrolling!)
Eat Well for Life With Ayurveda: Balance Your Dosha
HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for Autumn-WinterPumpkin is recommended for Autumn-Winter. Check out these other Autumn-Winter foods here.
Comments & Impressions of 'Pumpkin'Do you like 'pumpkin'? Why or why not? What makes it unique? Is there something you'd like to know about 'pumpkin'?
Does pumpkin make people tired because its glycemic index, please?
John, can you please, please post a pumpkin pie recipe in honor of autumn?!??
Pumpkin has natural sedative qualities - it is not due to the glycemic index.
a traditional home remedy forThis information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Mind Stress SleepAnxiety, fear, uncertainty, Conflict makes me restless, Fainting, Forgetful / spacey / distracted, Hyperactive, quick, Insomnia, Light sleeper, Overwhelmed by responsibilities, Stress, Talks quickly, Waking up middle of night
Blood and CirculationFast Heartbeat
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.