According to Chinese researchers, the pumpkin promises more than it shows.
Studies conducted on diabetic (Type 1) rats by the scientists from East China Normal University, have revealed that pumpkin extracts are able to regenerate damaged beta cells of the pancreas, as well as increase insulin production.
Says lead researcher Tao Xia, who published the team's report in the journal Chemistry and Industry: "Pumpkin extract is potentially a very good product for pre-diabetic people, as well as those who already have diabetes."
The team had found that diabetic rats fed on pumpkin extracts had only 5 per cent less plasma insulin and 8 per cent fewer insulin-positive (beta) cells than healthy rats.
According to the scientists, the protective effect of pumpkin is thought to be due to antioxidants and D-chiroinositol, a molecule that mediates insulin activity.
At the same time the scientists caution that though extracts from the vegetable would dramatically reduce the amount of insulin needed, injections may possibly still be necessary.
According to official records, diabetes - a lifestyle disease, affects more than 230 million people, which is almost six per cent of the world's population.
For those who dread painful insulin injections, a few bites of the humble pumpkin may well keep them at bay.