- Marilyn Buckley, CHHC
TIS THE SEASON OF THE WONDERFUL PUMPKIN
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word pumpkin?
For me it is Fall, Halloween and Pumpkin Pie – Yes Please!
Did you know that those glorious orange gourds are jam-packed with major health benefits?
Well, I am here to tell you about some of the pumpkin’s finest qualities and "Believe Me," it's much more than just pumpkin pie or the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte)?
Protein: 2 gms
Carbs: 12 gms
Fiber: 3 gms
Vit A: 245% of the RDI
Vit C: 19% of the RDI
Vit B2: 11% of the RDI
Vit E: 10% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Maganese: 11 % of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
As you can see by this list, beyond contains many Vitamins and Minerals, pumpkin is low in calories and if that isn’t enough, it is 94% water!! And because it is high in fiber it helps slow digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
2. High in Antioxidants :
Pumpkin contains alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene which are antioxidants among others and these may help protect and neutralize free radicals which damage are cells and lead to oxidative stress.
3. Immune Boost:
How ironic is it that this is the cold and flu season and we just happen to be given this amazing seasonal food that is loaded with nutrients that can boost our immune system.
Pumpkin contains beta-carotene (which converts to Vit A) and Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron and folate which have been shown to help our immune system.
4. Eye Health:
As we age our eyesight tends to diminish. When we consume the right nutrients, we can lower our risk. Pumpkin jumps to the front of the line as it is quite plentiful (1 cup contains 200%of the RDI of Vit A) in many nutrients that have been linked to strong eyesight.
5. Weight Loss:
Pumpkin is actually considered a low calorie and very nutrient-dense food. It is also very rich in fiber which will slow the digestion process down and it will keep you feeling fuller a lot longer.
6. Decrease Risk of Cancer:
Beta-carotene is also good for fighting cancer. Studies have shown that consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may decrease the risk of some cancers, including lung and prostate. Pumpkin is high in antioxidants which neutralize free radicals, which in turn may protect against some cancers.
8. Good for the Heart:
Pumpkin is full of many nutrients that can improve your heart health. It is high in potassium, Vit C, and fiber which all have healthy heart benefits.
Higher potassium consumption helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes.
9. Healthy Looking Skin:
Pumpkin contains nutrients like Vit A, Vit C, and Vit among a host of other nutrients that are vital to healthy-looking skin. Carotenoids and beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock.
There are so many healthy ways to get pumpkin into your diet, other than the pumpkin pie and PSL (sorry.).
🎃 Think of adding pumpkin to your smoothie with greens, ginger, and turmeric.
🎃 Roast it with other veggies and add leftovers to a salad the next day.
🎃 You can add it to oatmeal, chia pudding, soup, chili, and as pasta sauce.
🎃 You can even make an excellent face mask with it!!
Don’t be fooled into thinking everything that contains pumpkin is healthy for you. Read the labels!! Sugar beware. So if you are going to partake of a piece of pumpkin pie or sip on a PSL be aware of the sugar content and consider your serving size.