Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, including beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin — all of which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that having higher blood levels of carotenoids is associated with better lung function in the elderly.

People who smoke may also significantly benefit from consuming more carotenoid-rich foods like pumpkin. Evidence suggests that smokers may have 25% lower concentrations of carotenoid antioxidants than nonsmokers, which can harm lung health.