Health Benefits of Pumpkins
From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.
There is one food that takes center stage during autumn – the pumpkin!
Many people use this orange gourd as a decoration at Halloween.
But we also use it in many foods that are popular during the fall season – foods like pumpkin bread, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cookies, pasta made with pumpkin and pumpkin pie. In fact, pumpkin pie is one of THE most common desserts at an American Thanksgiving table.
But perhaps we should try to eat pumpkin all year long, and not just in the fall.
Pumpkins are packed with important nutrients and vitamins. If cooked in a healthy way, meaning without much butter or sugar, pumpkin is a powerhouse of health benefits.
Pumpkin is good for your eyesight
The nutrient beta-carotene and Vitamin A are necessary for maintaining good eyesight. Pumpkins are a great source of both. In fact, one nutrition website says that one cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin can give you more than 200 percent of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A.
Pumpkin may help reduce your risk of getting cancer
The National Cancer Institute in the United States says on its website that antioxidants may help reduce a person's risk of getting cancer. That is because antioxidants neutralize something called free radicals in the body. The Institute defines free radicals as "highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells."
Antioxidants help to get rid of these free radicals. Examples of antioxidants found in food include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E. And as we said earlier, pumpkin is full of beta-carotene as well as vitamin A.
Pumpkin helps your skin
Beta-carotene also helps to keep your skin healthy and young-looking. Yet another good reason to eat pumpkin!
Pumpkin may help your heart
Pumpkin is also loaded with potassium. Health experts say that consuming potassium may help treat hypertension or high blood pressure, just as decreasing your intake of sodium does.
Pumpkin may be good for weight loss
Pumpkin also has a lot of fiber. Fiber slows down digestion of food. So, when you eat pumpkin you feel full and eat less.
So, if it is available where you live, try to find ways to include pumpkin in your next meal.
And that's the Health & Lifestyle report.
I'm Anna Matteo.
1.slows down 延缓；放缓
The conversation slows down the action of the play.
2.be good for 对...有好处
They argued all the time and thought it couldn't be good for the baby.
3.weight loss 减肥
Most pre-prepared weight loss products are next to useless.
4.blood pressure 血压
Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure.
5.There is one food that takes center stage during autumn – the pumpkin!
takes center stage 占据中心位置；担任主角
The Got Talent show is where dreams take center stage.
In 2015, I expect IoT software and services to take center stage.
6.Antioxidants help to get rid of these free radicals.
get rid of 除掉；摆脱
I began to have a sinking feeling that I was not going to get rid of her.
There's corruption, and we're going to get rid of it.
不过，我们也利用南瓜在秋季制作一些受欢迎的食物——如南瓜饼、南瓜咖啡、南瓜饼干、南瓜意面、南瓜派等 。实际上，在感恩节时，南瓜派是美国餐桌上最常见的甜点之一 。
南瓜富含重要的营养物质和维生素 。如果以健康的方法来烹制（不添加黄油和糖），那么南瓜将对健康十分有益 。南瓜对视力也有好处 。
β-胡萝卜素和维生素A是保持良好视力的必要条件 。而南瓜中富含这两种营养物质 。实际上，一家营养类网站指出，一杯烹制后的南瓜泥能提供人体每日所需维生素A含量的两倍还多 。南瓜还有助于降低患癌风险 。
美国国家癌症研究所在官网上指出，抗氧化剂能够有效降低人类患癌的风险 。这是因为抗氧化剂能够中和人体内的自由基 。该研究所将自由基定义为“可能会危害细胞的高活性化学物质 。”
而抗氧化剂有助于消除自由基 。食物中含有抗氧化剂的物质包括β-胡萝卜素、番茄红素、维生素A、C和E 。正如之前所说，南瓜富含β-胡萝卜素和维生素A 。南瓜对皮肤有益 。
β-胡萝卜素能让皮肤健康、紧致 。又一个食用南瓜的充分理由！南瓜可能还对心脏有益 。
南瓜还有丰富的钾元素 。健康专家表示，摄入钾元素或有助于治疗高血压，效果与减少钠元素摄入一样 。南瓜还有助于减肥 。
南瓜还含有丰富的纤维素 。纤维素能延缓食物的消化 。食用南瓜易产生饱腹感，吃的食物也会少一些 。