Pumpkin Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  9 min read
pumpkin benefits and side effects

Health

Pumpkin health benefits may include:

Pumpkin benefits also include…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 336 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of pumpkin / 40 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of pumpkin

Carbon footprint: low, 0.14 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh pumpkins, a car driving equivalent of 0.5 miles or 0.75 kilometers

Destruction: low, pumpkin production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Pumpkins are…

Animals

Kills: none, pumpkin production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, pumpkin production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from pumpkin production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Pumpkins are…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Pumpkins…

Where do most pumpkins come from?

The world’s top pumpkin producing country is China, followed by Ukraine and Russia. In the United States, pumpkin production is led by Illinois, California, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and New York.

The world’s top pumpkin exporting country is Mexico, followed by Spain, USA, New Zealand, Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, Morocco, South Africa and Italy.

Are pumpkins nutritious?

Yes! Pumpkins are a good source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

pumpkins are alkaline.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Are pumpkins alkaline or acidic?

Pumpkins are alkaline.

What is the pH level of pumpkins?

Pumpkins have an 8.0 pH level, when fresh once digested. Most fresh vegetables are alkaline.

When you eat food, it is broken down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

pumpkins are gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are pumpkins gluten free?

Yes, pumpkins are gluten free. Pumpkins do not contain gluten. Pumpkins are a type of vegetable, therefore making it a gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten-Free Foods List

pumpkins are not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are pumpkins a common food allergen?

No, pumpkins are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to pumpkins but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

pumpkins have a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do pumpkins have a high or low water footprint?

Pumpkins have a low water footprint.

What is the water footprint of pumpkins?

It takes 336 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of pumpkin / 40 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of pumpkin. Pumpkins have a relatively low water footprint

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

pumpkins have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do pumpkins have a high or low carbon footprint?

Pumpkins have a low carbon footprint.

What is the carbon footprint of pumpkins?

It takes around 0.14 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh pumpkins, a car driving equivalent of 0.5 miles or 0.75 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

pumpkins are sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are pumpkins eco friendly? Are pumpkins sustainable?

Pumpkin production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

pumpkins are vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Are pumpkins vegan?

Yes, pumpkins are vegan. Pumpkins are a squash fruit and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

pumpkins are a product that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are pumpkins a product that has known labor issues?

At this time, there are no specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding pumpkin farming but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Pumpkins may or may not have labor issues.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.

Sources:

Pumpkins: Background & Statistics – USDA ERS

Pumpkin, raw – FoodData Central – USDA

Stats to Spice Up Your Pumpkin Knowledge | USDA

Pumpkin – SNAP-Ed Connection

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.