“Pumpkin Everything” – Yes It Can Be Healthy!

Fall Means “Pumpkin Everything!”

Fall is finally here and if you are like us, that means it is time to start adding the delicious taste of pumpkin to our favorite meals and snacks. You may have heard of or seen the popular phrase, “pumpkin everything” on social media, advertisements, or just around town, after all it is what many of us look forward to most during this time of year. However, fall favorites, such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, and pumpkin cookies have given pumpkins an unhealthy, “special occasion only” reputation, but pumpkins are actually superfood!

Health Benefits of Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a highly nutrient-dense food because they are rich in vitamins and minerals, but low in calories. They are also one of the best known sources of beta-carotene. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. Other health benefits of pumpkins include:

  1. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health.
  2. The antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene in pumpkins have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage as well as reduce risk of prostate and colon cancer.
  3. Consuming pumpkin can help control diabetes since the plant compounds in pumpkin seeds and pulp are excellent for helping the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines, as well as balancing levels of liver glucose.
  4. Pumpkins are a fantastic source of fiber, and consuming the daily recommended fiber intake promotes healthy digestion and reduces risk of colon cancer.
  5. Pumpkin also improves immune heath because it helps trigger the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.
  6. Don’t forget about the seeds! They are packed with protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Studies suggest pumpkin seeds provide a number of health benefits- such as blocking the enlargement of the prostate gland, lowering the risk of bladder stones, and helping to prevent depression.

Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

As with all fruits and vegetables, eating them fresh is best! That is why fall is the perfect time to work pumpkins into your diet. Try to avoid processed pumpkin products, as they contain high levels of added sugar, and opt for fresh pumpkins from the farmer’s market or local grocery store. While deseeding, roasting, and/or pureeing your own pumpkins can take longer, it is the best way to nutritional enhance all your favorite dishes this fall! Listed below are some of our favorite healthy pumpkin recipes:

  1. Pumpkin Soup: Easy and simple, this soup calls for fresh, roasted pumpkin, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and and array of spices. Get the recipe here!
  2. Rosemary Parmesan Pumpkin Seeds: No need for sugar or salt in this recipe! These seeds only call for dried rosemary, red pepper flakes, freshly grated parmesan, and a little bit of butter or extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup: The name really says it all, but what really completes this delicious meal is the avocado, lime, and cilantro garnish. Get the healthy, hearty recipe here!
  4. Roasted Pumpkin With Feta: One of our absolute favorite side dishes or afternoon snacks! Freshly roasted pumpkin topped with feta, balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes. You can even drizzle a little organic honey on it. Click here for the full recipe!

For more healthy and nutritious pumpkin recipes visit Delish.com.

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