Pumpkin has become synonymous with autumn, and now is the time to enjoy it and get creative! There are actually many health benefits when eating pumpkin (as a whole food, not a pie or latte!). Pumpkin is a root vegetable, technically in the starch family, but it is lower in calories and carbohydrates than other starchy vegetables. This makes pumpkin an ideal choice because it has a higher water content and more fiber than other carbohydrates, which helps to lower bad cholesterol and regulate blood sugar with fewer net carbohydrates and less sugar.
A lot of health benefits of pumpkin are particularly helpful during the fall. Changing seasons means cooler temperatures and ultimately more germs being spread. Thankfully, pumpkin is high in zinc to help boost immunity. A supercharged immune system can help fend off illnesses like colds and the flu. Pumpkin also has high levels of Vitamin C for antioxidant function and iron absorption, as well as folate for cell renewal. Vitamin E, as well as Vitamins A and C in pumpkin help to fight inflammation, and can work wonders on your skin and collagen production.
Pumpkin is one of the best sources of alpha- and beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A, and promotes healthy vision and cell growth. Magnesium and calcium in pumpkin are great for bone health and fighting osteoporosis. Magnesium works to maintain a healthy nervous system, which controls most of the body, including stress levels and muscle tension. Other minerals in pumpkin include phosphorous and potassium - even more than a banana! Potassium is necessary to balance water and sodium in the body, in addition to maintaining healthy blood pressure. Across the board, you will be getting a plethora of nutrients from incorporating pumpkin into your diet.
Pumpkin seeds are also delicious and nutritious. These seeds contain a good source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which may help with heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds are also one of the healthiest and most natural forms of plant based protein. The healthy fats and protein in pumpkin seeds make them great for strong, shiny hair. The seeds also contain magnesium just like the flesh of the pumpkin.
Wondering how you can incorporate pumpkin or pumpkin seeds into recipes?
Add pureed pumpkin to smoothies (or coffee!)
Raw or roasted pumpkin seeds - eaten plain or added to oatmeal, salads, etc...
Pumpkin soup using pureed pumpkin
Roast pumpkin just like any other starch or squash!
More recipes coming soon :)