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What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Canned Pumpkin

A can of this beloved fall food does a lot more for your health than you think!

Why do we limit ourselves to only enjoying pumpkin three months of the year? While pumpkin is naturally harvested and enjoyed during the fall season, canned pumpkin is still readily available for grocery shoppers throughout the other nine months. However, by limiting ourselves to only enjoying pumpkin in the "socially-acceptable" times to do so, we are denying ourselves access to a vegetable that is full of incredible health benefits. So what if we changed that?

Canned pumpkin is a great source of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. A mere glance at the nutrition label can prove to you that canned pumpkin is the perfect natural way to pump up the nutrition in your meals. By adding it to your favorite recipes—like pancakes, oatmeal, soups, even yogurt—you're significantly increasing the nutritional value of whatever you are cooking. After all, it is a vegetable!

Remember, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie mix are different! Typically you'll find canned pumpkin near the baking aisle, and it will sneakily sit right next to cans of pumpkin pie mix. The mix is actually a sugary substance that's pre-made so you can throw together a pumpkin pie pretty quickly. While it has some of the health benefits, it will be packed with sugar. The type of canned pumpkin we are referring to are the cans simply with pumpkin puree—typically labeled "Organic Pumpkin" or "100% Pure Pumpkin."

Now that we have that settled, here are a few things to know about what happens to your body when you eat canned pumpkin. We have a feeling you'll be adding a few cans of it to your shopping cart next time you're at the grocery store—no matter what the season is.


It's packed with fiber.

pumpkin bread

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. However, given the average person only consumes around 10 or 15 grams of fiber a day, it's clear that people need to consume more of it. Especially because fiber can do a lot for the overall health and function of your body—and even help you to lose weight. Pumpkin actually has quite a bit of dietary fiber and is an easy way to get more fiber into your meals. 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin actually has 4 grams of fiber in it—which is 16% of the average daily value for women.


It's great for your eyes.

pumpkin puree

Carrots, sweet potatoes, and even pumpkin all have one thing in common—they're orange. The orange color in these foods comes from an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A can help eye, skin, and hair health, and some studies even suggest vitamin A's key role in preventing cancer and macular degeneration.

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It smooths out your skin.

pumpkin muffins

As mentioned, vitamin A can even help your skin health. The beta-carotene can help repair skin tissues and reduce any skin inflammation you may have. With a healthy amount of beta-carotene in your diet, you'll be looking at healthier-looking skin. And you don't have to consume a ton of pumpkin to get your DRI! A 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin actually gives you 380% of your daily value of vitamin A.


It won't leave you feeling bloated.

pumpkin in a bowl

While some canned foods are loaded with sodium to help with preserving, canned pumpkin actually is low in sodium altogether. A 1/2 cup serving only contains 5 milligrams of sodium. Because sodium can leave you feeling bloated, relying on canned pumpkin as a vegetable will help in decreasing your usual sodium intake and help you to feel less bloated.


It's low in calories.

spicy pumpkin parfait in a mason jar with spoons
Blaine Moats

Along with being so low in sodium, canned pumpkin is low in carbohydrates (10 grams for a 1/2 cup serving), sugar (4 grams), and fat (zero grams). This leaves a serving at a whopping 42 calories. Canned pumpkin is not only easy to grab, but a fantastic way to get in your vitamin A, your fiber, and keep the calorie count low. Add it to a 1/2 cup of cooked oats for an easy, healthy breakfast and you're looking at 8 grams of fiber, only 5 grams of sugar, and only 192 calories in total.

Ready to cook with pumpkin? Here are 18 Things You Can Do with Canned Pumpkin.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten