With the arrival of pumpkin season, I thought I’d share the impressive health benefits of pumpkins that most people aren’t aware of. I can’t help but cringe at how much pumpkin we waste when carving jack-o-lanterns. So here are some reasons to think twice before tossing precious pumpkin flesh and seeds in the trash:
Pumpkins keep your waist line in check!
Pumpkin is a very low calorie vegetable that is packed full of dietary fiber. Fiber is particularly important for helping you shed pounds since it helps minimize your portion sizes and slows down spikes in your blood sugar. Pumpkins are perfect because they keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. They are also rich in other antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, making it a staple food in weight loss meal plans.
Pumpkins protect your skin and eyes! They may also prevent cancer!
Pumpkins are abundant in vitamin A and beta-carotene, a carotenoid which is converted into vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant that is essential for vision, especially in dim light. It is also an important vitamin for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucosal membranes; foods rich in vitamin A are known to protect us against lung and oral cavity cancers. Pumpkins also contain high levels of other carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which filter ultraviolet rays in the retina and may protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Pumpkin seeds are good for your heart health and mood!
Not only are the seeds in pumpkins an excellent source of fiber, they are also rich in phytosterols, which are plant-based chemicals that help you reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seeds also contain high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin in the brain and acts as a key player in regulating mood.
Now that we’ve mentioned the powerful health perks of pumpkins, this article wouldn’t be complete without a pumpkin recipe or two; so here are some delicious and nutritious ones that you may want to try!
How to Roast Pumpkin SeedsHow to Roast Pumpkin Seeds (by Jamie Oliver’s Team)
Pumpkin MashPumpkin Mash (by Food to Love)
Roasted Butternut Pumpkin and Red Quinoa SaladRoasted Butternut Pumpkin and Red Quinoa Salad (by Delicious Everyday)
Curry Pumpkin SoupCurry Pumpkin Soup (by Life’s Ambrosia)
Pumpkin and Spinach CurryPumpkin and Spinach Curry (by Veggie Belly)
Vegan Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Pumpkin PieVegan Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie (by Minimalist Baker)
Pumpkin Coconut Maple Custard CupsPumpkin Coconut Maple Custard Cups (by Nom Nom Paleo)
Curious about the health benefits of other foods we eat? Schedule a complimentary consultation with our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Janis and see how she can help you pack more nutrients into your daily meals!