With Halloween just around the corner, pumpkins are everywhere. Yet while the decorative use of pumpkins at this time of year is hugely popular, most people are unaware that pumpkins have incredible health and nutritional benefits. Frida Harju, in-house nutritionist at health and fitness app Lifesum (www.lifesum.com), has put together a list of some the health benefits of pumpkin:

Vegan on Female First

Vegan on Female First

Energy Boosting

Along with its many other nutrients, cooked pumpkin has high levels of potassium, even higher than that found in bananas, making it a great source of energy. The potassium also makes pumpkin a great post-workout food, as the potassium helps restore the balance of electrolytes in the body, which is essential for our cells, tissues and organs, in order for them to function at their optimum level.

Prevent High Blood Pressure

Not only does the soft inside of pumpkins contain numerous health benefits, but pumpkin seed oil is also known to be one of the three most nutritious oils. The oil contains high levels of the plant-based compound called phytoestrogen, which has proven to be hugely beneficial in preventing high blood pressure. The oil also contains essential fats, which play a vital role in hormone production and joint lubrication.

Boost Your Mood

Beyond the nutritional benefits, eating pumpkin seeds may even be beneficial for our mood. Pumpkin seeds are packed with tryptophan, the amino acid responsible for the production of the serotonin, the mood enhancing chemical in our body. This makes pumpkin seeds a great, natural mood enhancer, perfect for the gloomy autumn evenings.

Maintain a Healthy Heart

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of fibre, which is not only beneficial for the smooth functioning of your bowels, but also for your heart, as those with high fibre diets are shown to have significantly lower risks of developing coronary heart disease. The seeds are also rich in phytosterols, proven to reduce the LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol.

Strengthen your Immune System

Nutrients such as folic acid, manganese, vitamin C and zinc, all known for helping strengthen the body's natural immune system, are all found in high quantities in pumpkins. Not only this ,but riboflavin, the vitamin also known as B2, which helps the body fight off bacterial functions, is also found in pumpkins, making them the perfect vegetable for warding off illness.

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