(TRFW News) With fall approaching, pumpkins are beginning to ripen up.  Pumpkins hold a part in most people’s fall or Halloween traditions, whether it be through carving, baking or decorating.

However, research shows that enjoying more of this amazing squash may also be helpful for those diagnosed with diabetes.  There are currently over 20 million people in the U.S diagnosed with diabetes, representing related health care costs of as much as 132 billion dollars. (1)

Research shows pumpkin extract allows for regeneration of pancreatic cells

Researchers from North China University used pumpkin extract with diabetic rats and reported a regeneration of pancreatic cells.  This study reported that at the end of the study, the diabetic rats had 5 percent less plasma insulin and 8 percent fewer insulin-positive beta cells compared with healthy rats. (1)

A 2009 study used pumpkin paste on rats with type 2 diabetes and found that pumpkin paste was effective at improving glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.  (2)

Pumpkin lowers oxidative stress linked to heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic nephropathy

Pumpkin is low-glycemic, with a glycemic index far below that of a baked potato. The glycemic load of a food item is an accurate predictor of how eating this food will affect your blood sugar levels.  Pumpkin is a good source of beta-carotene, which is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps convert Vitamin A in the body.  A study from Brazil reported that diabetic rats produced more reactive oxygen than non-diabetic rats.  When beta-carotene was utilized in the food source, it reduced the levels of reactive oxygen in diabetic rats.  Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic nephropathy.  (3)

Two other compounds found in pumpkin are also shown to lower blood sugar.  Trigonelline and nicotinic acid are shown to improve glucose intolerance.  Trigonelline is an active compound found in fenugreek, an herbal supplement that is often used to treat diabetes.  It has been shown to support the regeneration of beta-cells, increasing insulin secretion and regulates enzymes related to glucose metabolism. (3)

Phytochemical D-chiro-inositol, has similar blood sugar lowering properties as prescription drugs

Researchers in Mexico found that a “fig-leaf gourd”, from the pumpkin family, was a rich source of phytochemical D-chiro-inositol.  This phytochemical was shown to have blood sugar lowering properties that were comparable to prescribed anti-diabetic drugs.  (3)

The health effects of pumpkin go beyond just the potential to help reverse diabetes though.  A 2006 study reports that pumpkin seed oil was shown to shrink enlarged prostates in male rats.  This study utilized no other form of treatment and noticed significant results.  (2)

Pumpkins are also shown to help produce vital and healthy skin, as well as reduce menopausal symptoms in women.  (3)

This fall, don’t just carve these beautiful gourds, take time to also enjoy the bountiful health benefits of the humble pumpkin!

Sources for this article include:

(1) www.nutraingredients.com
(2) www.naturalnews.com
(3) www.realdiabetestruth.com