Evolved Food: Pumpkin

Updated: Jan 28

The pumpkin (Curcubita pepo) is a member of the gourd family native to North America, the “roots” of which can be traced back to 7000-5500BC - pardon the pun….pkin (seriously, I’m sorry). The name “pumpkin” originated from the Greek word pepon meaning “large melon” (original, I know) and through translations into French and then English became pumpkin (1).


Carving At Halloween

We have all attempted to carve out a jack-o-lantern at Halloween (only to become fed up about half-way through hollowing them out) and some of the designs are rather impressive. The tradition of carving out jack-o-lanterns at Halloween began in Ireland in the 19th Century where people used to carve out turnips, rutabagas and other root vegetables (pumpkins did not exist in the UK back then) and place them around their property to ward off evil spirits. All Hallows Day - or Halloween as it is more commonly known - was a Christian holiday marking the end of the harvest and it is believed that the common traditions of Halloween originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals such as the Gaelic festival Samhain. The festival indeed marked the end of the harvest, but also marked the beginning of the ‘darker half’ of the year where it was believed the boundary between life and the “Otherworld” thinned, meaning it was easier for spirits to pass into this world. When Irish immigrants arrived in America they found that carving a much larger pumpkin was a lot easier and the tradition remained (2 , 3).


Pumpkin flesh is a good source of vitamin A (more on that below) but the seeds are even more nutrient dense containing substantial amounts of Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium and Vitamin K. They are a great addition to salads and healthy granola or can be eaten as a snack. Pumpkin seeds contain high amounts of Omega 6 fats which are vital to human health, however, Omega 3 fat intake must remain higher for good health. The ideal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids lies somewhere between 3:1 and 1:1 with most health benefits occurring when lower quantities of Omega 6 fats are consumed. A typical Western diet is closer to 16:1 thanks to over-consumption of foods cooked in low quality seed oils, which could be the cause of several health problems (4 , 5).

Pumpkin Spice Latte!!!

We can thank Starbucks for this invention. Development of the pumpkin spice latte started in 2003 and, after a recipe change in 2015 to include real pumpkin puree instead of artificial flavours, it has been estimated that between 2003 and 2017 the drink has earned Starbucks a cool $1.4bn - not bad (6).


Low glycaemic load

The glycaemic index is a relative ranking of a carbohydrates ability to raise blood sugar levels on a scale of 1-100. Foods with a glycaemic index at or below 55 have a small effect on blood sugar levels whereas those which fall into the higher range tend to spike blood sugar levels much higher and faster. While pumpkin scores high on the glycaemic index (75/100), due to its low carbohydrate content - 100g contains only 5g of carbohydrates - pumpkin has a very low glycaemic load of 3. This means that you would need to eat A LOT of pumpkin to significantly raise your blood sugar levels (7).

Vitamin A source

Beta-Carotene is a carotenoid which is converted into vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant which can boost your immune system, maintain healthy vision and could protect against certain cancers (8). Additionally, beta carotene may protect the skin against damage caused by UV light - not that there is any around halloween in this part of the world! (9)

Eye health

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease which affects central vision and causes vision to become blurry or distorted. Beta carotene has been shown to slow the progression of AMD along with zinc, vitamin E and Vitamin C - all of which can be found in decent amounts in the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin (10).

Nutritional Content

The Flesh (per 100g boiled, drained and without salt)

Calories - 20Kcal

Total Fat - 0g

Saturated Fat - 0g

Monounsaturated Fat - 0g

Polyunsaturated Fat - 0g

Total Carbohydrate - 5g

Sugar - 1g

Fibre - 1g

Protein - 1g

Vitamin A - 100%

Vitamin C - 8%

Potassium - 7%

Vitamin E - 4%

Pumpkin Seeds (per 100g dried)

Calories - 541Kcal

Total Fat - 45.8g

Saturated Fat - 8.7g

Monounsaturated Fat - 1.3g

Polyunsaturated Fat - 20.9

Total Carbohydrate - 17.8g

Sugar - 1g

Fibre - 4g

Protein - 24.5g

Manganese - 151%

Magnesium - 134%

Phosphorus - 117%

Vitamin K - 64%

Zinc - 50%

So there we have it. Have fun carving out your pumpkin, but remember that it actually contains many health benefits so make sure you eat it too.

Related Post: Evolved Food: Purple Sweet Potato

Related Post: Evolved Food: Cavolo Nero


John Maitland

John Maitland is the co-founder of 'The Evolved Way.’ A personal trainer with over 10 years’ experience, he has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.

Samson Hodin

Co-founder of 'The Evolved Way', and experienced personal trainer, Samson practices what he preaches. His own healthy lifestyle, which informs this site, is based on understanding the right way to eat and exercise, not excluding of course going out and enjoying life knowing you can still feel and look good.

#EvolvedFoods #Vitamins #Keto #Nutrition



Download our articles in PDF format to your desktop, smartphone or tablet and read whenever you want, on or offline.





Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Instagram Icon





Articles and information on this website may only be copied, reprinted, or redistributed with written permission. The entire contents of this website and articles featured are based upon the opinions of John Maitland and Samson Hodin, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective authors, who may retain copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace professional medical advice, nor is it intended to treat or cure any medical condition. It is intended as a sharing of ideas, knowledge and information from the personal research and experience of John Maitland and Samson Hodin, and the community. John Maitland and Samson Hodin are both fully qualified personal trainers. We will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this site; however, it is impossible to review all messages immediately. All messages expressed on the website, including comments posted to blog entries, represent the views of the author exclusively and we are not responsible for the content of any message.