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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 22:59-60 (article 22) 1999

Health-Protection Composition of Pumpkin

Tian Chengrui and Li Yun

Department of Food Science, Northwestern Agricultural University, Yangling, Shanxi, 712100, P.R. China

Cui Hongwen and Cao Wei

Department of Horticulture, Northwestern Agricultural University, Shanxi, 71200, P.R. China

Pumpkin (cucurbita moschata Duch.) is well known as both vegetable and food. Recently studies have shown that pumpkin has an auxiliary effect on treating diabetes, hypertension and gastric ulcer (1,2). Fairchild et al. (1990) developed special food products made from pumpkin for diabetics and in clinical trials achieved good curative effects (3).

Pumpkin contains high levels of starch, sugar, protein, fat and vitamins, some of which perform important nutritional and health functions. 'Big Millstones', 'Ten Sisters', Pillow', 'Yellow Wolf' and 'Multicolored skin' are varieties of pumpkin widely planted in China. Their nutritive value are analyzed in this paper, providing reference data for developing advanced health food from pumpkin.

The results show that the five varieties all have high levels of amino acids, minerals, β-carotene and vitamin C. The specific contents are shown in tables 1, 2 and 3. Big Millstones generally has more amino acids, β-carotene and vitamin C than the other varieties. Aspartic acid, glutamate and arginine, which have health-protection functions, account for a large proportion of total amino acids. Arginine can hasten insulin generation. The auxiliary curative effect of pumpkin on treating diabetes may be related to this. In addition Cu, Cr, Zn and Mn are also related to the secretion of insulin. The high ration of K/Na has a diuresis effect (4), important to the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Fruit of Big Millstones, so-called because of its similarity in appearance to millstones, weigh 6-9 kg. The orange colored pulp is fine textured and high in solids and nutritive content. Big Millstones pumpkin shows promise as raw material in the manufacture of natural health foods.

Table 1. Amino acid content of five varieties of pumpkins (g/100g).

Amino Acid
'Big Millstones
'Ten Sisters'
'Pillow'
'Yellow Wolf'
'Multicolored Skin'
Asp
0.397
0.185
0.226
0.068
0.196
Thr
0.016
0.014
0.012
0.010
0.014
Ser
0.034
0.030
0.021
0.021
0.037
Glu
0.173
0.086

0.012

0.138
0.170
Gly
0.020
0.016
0.014
0.020
0.016
Ala
0.034
0.022
0.022
0.020
0.036
Cys
0.007
0.005
0.066
0.005
0.005
Val
0.036
0.033
0.030
0.035
0.041
Met
0.007
0.006
0.006
0.007
0.007
Ile
0.019
0.018
0.015
0.027
0.029
Leu
0.036
0.031
0.027
0.042
0.040
Tyr
0.030
0.022
0.021
0.026
0.019
Phe
0.021
0.016
0.018
0.026
0.024
Lys
0.033
0.032
0.025
0.045
0.025
His
0.013
0.009
0.010
0.017
0.011
Arg
0.063
0.032
0.044
0.062
0.043
Pro
0.013
0.016
0.009
0.013
0.018
Try
0.021
0.021
0.010
0.014
0.016
Total
0.992
0.589
0.644
0.608
0.769

Table 2. Mineral content of five varieties of pumpkins.

Mineral
'Big Millstones
'Ten Sisters'
'Pillow'
'Yellow Wolf'
'Multicolored Skin'
K
257.0
123.0
213.0
109.0
192.0
Na
17.8
10.7
15.2
9.1
14.3
Zn
0.28
0.17
0.21
0.13
0.19
Cu
0.12
0.07
0.11
0.04
0.10
Cr
51.0
50.0
15.0
11.0
40.0
Mn
300.0
237.0
285.0
213.0
249.0

Table 3. β-carotene and Vitamin C content of five varieties of pumpkin (mg/100g).

'Big Millstones
'Ten Sisters'
'Pillow'
'Yellow Wolf'
'Multicolored Skin'
β-carotene
1.970
1.250
0.740
0.340
0.284
Vitamin C
9.0
8.5
8.2
7.5
7.0

Literature Cited

  1. Xie, Yu. 1992. Study on information of developing pumpkin products. Research and Development of Food (2):29-32.
  2. Loranskaia T.I. et al. 1986. Effects of a series of food substances on motor and emptying function of the gastric stump and diverting intestinal loop after stomach resection and trunchal vagotomy. Vopp-pi-tan 1:19-22.
  3. Fairchild, et al. 1990. A survey of the use of special food products by diabetics. J. Human Nutrition and Diabetics 3:311-316.
  4. Vucctic, J. et al. 1989. Chemical composition, nutritive value and healing properties of the pumpkin. Horana-Ishrana 3:230-234.
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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 23 April, 2008