It’s officially Pumpkin Palooza month over here at KalenaSpire. Prepare yourself for all things pumpkinlicious.
To start, let’s set the groundwork and declare that pumpkin is actually a fruit (one of my favorites), not a vegetable. And, although fun, carving isn’t the only thing to do with a pumpkin.
Pumpkin is nutrient dense and offers many heath benefits, all while being low in sugar.
The deep orange flesh (this comes from the antioxidant beta-carotene) and tasty seeds contain a powerful punch of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber:
- Pantothenic acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
All of these nutrients help you optimize your health and may:
- Protect your eyesight (nutrients such as beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E help contribute to good eye sight and may protect against macular degeneration)
- Reduce your risk of cancer (research shows antioxidants such as beta-carotene neutralize free radicals and may help prevent cancer)
- Help you lose weight (the fiber in pumpkin helps fill you up and prevents your blood sugar from spiking)
- Prevent your skin from aging (antioxidants neutralize free radicals that damage skin cells)
- Boost your mood (pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin)
- Offer you antimicrobial protection (the interaction of protein and lignans in pumpkin seeds–pinoresinol, medioresinol, and lariciresinol–are key players in this benefit)
- Boost your immune system (one cup of cooked pumpkin contains almost 20% of the USDA daily recommended intake of Vitamin C for most adults)
Now that we have a good understanding of why we should be eating pumpkin, let’s cover how to cook pumpkin.
There’s no need for sugar-filled pumpkin pie filling (yikes, traditional pumpkin pie filling carves out the benefits of eating pumpkin).
Roasting pumpkin is a great way to enhance the natural sweetness of pumpkin. Making your own pumpkin purée from roasted pumpkin is easy and can be used in lots of recipes from sweet to savory.
Stay tuned for future posts with pumpkinlicious recipes and visit my Pumpkinlicious Pinterest board for more inspiration.
What’s your favorite roasted pumpkin recipe? Share in the comments below!
Cho E., Seddon, J.M., Rosner B., Willett W.C., & Hankinson S.E. “Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy.” Archives of Ophthalmology 122, no. 6 (June 2004): 883-892. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15197064
Gardner, A. “High-Fiber Diets and Weight Loss.” Accessed November 2015. http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-weight-control
National Cancer Institute. “Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention.” Accessed November 2015. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet
The George Mateljan Foundation. “Pumpkin Seeds.” Accessed November 2015. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Vitamin A.” Access November 2015. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.htm
Ware, M. “What are the health benefits of pumpkin?” Accessed November 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279610.php
Zamosky, L. “The Truth About Tryptophan.” Accessed November 2015. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/the-truth-about-tryptophan?page=1