• Pumpkin Everything… For Your Health

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    Our Novato dentist, Sun Costigan, DDS, MAGD, together with our staff wish you a happy Fall! When Fall Equinox arrives, it’s a cue for the menu to include pumpkin everything. This is fantastic news for your oral health, as pumpkins have many great health benefits. Remember to brush your teeth after sweet pumpkin treats to prevent cavities.

    Pumpkins are a gourd from the Cucurbitaceae family, and technically a fruit of the pumpkin vine since they’re edible and have seeds. Pumpkins made their way from Central America, where the Aztecs and Mayans enjoyed it as early as 5,500 BC. England documented pumpkins in the recipes for savory or sweet pies in the 1500s. There is evidence to suggest that the Wampanoag tribe shared pumpkin dishes with early colonists. One town in Connecticut postponed Thanksgiving when their molasses shortage would have caused a shortage of pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by Lincoln in the 1800s and solidified the popularity of pumpkin pie. Where there’s a need for a product, the marketplace will supply. One company canned the gourds in the 1900s into the pumpkin puree most Americans use in their holiday dishes.

    Health Benefits

    Pumpkins are extremely nutrient-dense, with a variety of health benefits and low caloric intake at under 50 calories per cup. They are made of 94% water and deliver significant benefits like reducing blood glucose levels, improving glucose tolerance, increasing insulin, and providing a good source of fiber, which will all help maintain healthy cravings and weight. It’s a mild diuretic and will allow excess water and salt to pass through you.

    They offer a sufficient source of Vitamins A, C, E, and other essential vitamins and minerals that promote bone and tissue growth and repair. Vitamin A from beta-carotene can fight infections and strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C can promote healthy skin as a natural sunblock against UV rays and producer of collagen protein. Vitamins C and E can neutralize free radicals, and provide antioxidants. Potassium may improve your bone health by increasing bone mineral density, supporting muscle contraction, water balance, digestion, and healthy blood pressure. If you’re depleting a lot of electrolytes by being active, pumpkins are a great source of potassium, providing more than a banana. Potassium and calcium will both keep your teeth strong. The Vitamin E, folate, and iron also support a strong immune system. Together, these nutrients provide vital oral health benefits to your teeth and prevent gum disease and gingivitis. 

    Our Novato dentist wants to encourage healthy choices like pumpkin for your oral and overall health. Your food choices are as important to your oral health as your dental hygiene practices are. Consider that pumpkin-flavored treats and drinks have added sugar without the benefits of eating the fruit. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin everything. Play around with different ways to include this superfood into your diet over the next couple of seasons. Roasted pumpkins will be delicious and beneficial year-round. It’s much better for your overall health than a latte and you’ll receive the health benefits Dr. Sun Costigan encourages.

    During your next dental check-up, talk to your Novato dentist about tips to improve your oral health. We may have a replacement toothbrush, which will be helpful in remembering to brush after pumpkin pie. Until then, like our Facebook page to stay updated!