Pumpkins are a well-known autumn staple. However, some claim that this vegetable could be the superfood of the future. In the West, pumpkins may be the main ingredient in a traditional holiday pie, but their true potential lies in their nutritional and medicinal benefits. Rich in various essential nutrients and relatively easy to grow, this hardy, drought-tolerant crop is underrated.
Pumpkins contain antioxidants, which are said to help prevent various cancers. Nutrient-dense but with a low-calorie count, this water-rich fruit is also a great source of Vitamin A. The fruit is also rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate, all of which strengthen our immune systems. A 2021 study from the University of Putra, Malaysia, called pumpkins a "revolutionary age crop," adding it is a "balanced food, and more adapted to low soil and atmospheric circumstances than other major crops."
Besides all this, it seems that pumpkins are an ideal plant for water-insecure regions due to their tolerance to drought. Given their ability to withstand less water and salinity, they are the preferred crop to be grown in the sand bars of Bangladesh. Researchers from Selcuk University, Turkey, are trying to develop novel varieties of pumpkins based on certain cultivars that will result in a more drought-tolerant crop.
Pumpkins are not only found to be well suited to growing in water-stressed regions but also considered beneficial for the soil they are being grown in. They have the ability to reduce erosion, to fix atmospheric nitrogen, reduce nitrogen leaching, and improve soil health.