When fall rolls around, we start seeing pumpkins everywhere. From Jack-O-Lantern’s to scarecrows, they’re on every corner! And then there’s the pumpkin spice mania, which often doesn’t even contain a lick of pumpkin but is rather just a blend of (delicious) spices meant to evoke those warming scents and flavors of fall.

But sometimes, with all the pumpkins around us, it’s easy to forget just how yummy pumpkin is. In soups, pies, or just the seeds on their own, there are plenty of ways to eat this delicious fruit. Yes, pumpkin is a fruit!

Not only is pumpkin a fruit, but it’s excellent for you too. Here are a few reasons to make sure your autumn diet is packed with pumpkin this year.

  1. It’s packed with antioxidantsYou know by now that antioxidants are always a good thing. Pumpkins are chock-full of antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, which can help protect skin against sun damage and lower the risk of cancer and other conditions.
  2. You could strengthen your visionPumpkins are filled wit Vitamin A, which is linked to aiding with your eyesight as your body ages. Vitamin A deficiency is a common cause of blindness. Beta-carotene, one of the antioxidants mentioned above, also helps lower your risk of cataracts.
  3. Pumpkins are heart healthy These delicious fruits are high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, which are all linked to better heart health.
  4. An easy snack for weight lossPumpkin is high in vitamins and nutrients but the best part? It’s very low in calories, as it’s 94% water. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains only 49 calories, but also contains 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, as well as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins. Pumpkin seeds on their own are packed with protein, and a delicious and easy snack to take on the go.
  5. Protect yourself against winter colds You know by now that pumpkins are filled with vitamins, so it should come as no surprise that they’re an excellent immune system defender. Pumpkins have a lot of vitamin C, which increases white blood cell production, help immune cells work more effectively and make wounds heal faster. There’s also a lot of vitamin E, iron and folate in there too, which also boost your immune system and help fight off any impending sniffles and sneezes.