It’s that time of year again where visits to the pumpkin patch are commonplace and a slice of pumpkin pie has your name written all over it. From spiced lattes to raviolis to desserts, this seasonal squash is often the centerpiece of the Fall season. Versatile and delicious, pumpkins also have many hidden health benefits. Below are 6 health perks of pumpkins to celebrate this season:
- Skin-protecting: One cup of pumpkin has 245% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which promotes skin elasticity and stability, and supports eye health and aids vision, especially in dim lighting.
- Fiber-rich: In addition to being low in calories, this super food is loaded with fiber to keep you fuller for longer; now it will be easier to resist eating too many holiday sweets.
- Heart-healthy: Pumpkin seeds are high in dietary fiber and mono-saturated fatty acids, which are proven to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol and manage blood pressure.
- Immunity-Boosting: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is important for immunity, healthy sleep and mood.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Pumpkin seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can even help relieve some symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Cancer-Fighting: This power comes from the same source as the pumpkin’s bright orange color – the antioxidant beta-carotene. Studies show that a diet rich in beta-carotene is associated with a decreased risk of developing some cancers.
Below are some easy ways to get your daily dose of this super food:
- Blend it! Throw some canned pumpkin in a blender with almond milk, spices and ice cubes and voilà- your very own pumpkin pie shake that is low-cal and delicious! If you’re in the mood for a savory snack, blend the pumpkin puree with onion, garlic and broth, and heat for a delicious fall soup.
- Warm it up! Stir canned pumpkin and maple syrup into your oatmeal for a delicious way to start your day.
- Roast it! Pumpkin chili is sure to hit the spot at dinnertime. Roasting a pumpkin and then cooking it with tomatoes, veggies, garlic, spices and black beans makes for a hearty meal that won’t weigh you down.
What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes? Share them with us!