One cup of canned pumpkin, for example, contains 137 calories but provides more than 200 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, 36 percent of vitamin K, 25 percent of fiber and 22 percent of vitamin E. It’s also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, iron and potassium.
The vitamin A in pumpkin comes from plant pigments called carotenoids, which give pumpkin its golden color, and can be converted by the body into vitamin A, Dr. Kopec said. Vitamin A is vital for vision, pregnancy, skin health and immune function — the last of which is especially “important as we head into the colder months,” she said.
A carotenoid in pumpkin called beta-carotene, as well as vitamins C and E, can also act as antioxidants and can help protect the skin from damage from UV rays and pollution, said Amanda Lynett, a dietitian specializing in gastroenterology at Michigan Medicine.
One cup of canned pumpkin purée, which is typically made from a pumpkin variety that is similar to butternut squash, contains about seven grams of fiber, a nutrient that most people in the United States could benefit from eating more of. Fiber can help you feel full and satisfied, can regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and can support a healthy gut microbiome, Ms. Lynett said.
The types of fiber in pumpkin can also help those who suffer from diarrhea or constipation by absorbing water and helping stool to move along inside the colon, Ms. Lynett added. And pumpkin “is a little gentler on the digestive tract” than other types of high-fiber foods, like kale or beans, she said, which have more “roughage” and can be a bit harder to digest.