Why You Should Add More Pumpkin into Your Diet
It’s October, and you know what that means… it’s officially pumpkin season! Everyone loves Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pumpkin scented candles, but did you know you can do more with your pumpkins than just turn them into festive jack-o-lanterns?
Pumpkins are actually an incredibly healthy addition to any diet and can even improve heart health. Incorporating more pumpkin into your diet could be a new and exciting component to keeping your blood pressure low, immune system powerful, and your weight managed. Find out why and how you should start incorporating more pumpkin into your diet this spooky season!
Pumpkins Have Surprising Health Benefits
Pumpkin contains a surprising amount of nutrients that have a wide variety of benefits. When discussing the health benefits of pumpkins, it’s important to consider that we refer only to fresh and unaltered pumpkin. Canned pumpkin and purees often have added sugar and syrups that can detract from all of the amazing healthiness that is built-in naturally. The nutritional components paired with the low-calorie content make this treat perfect for maintaining a healthy weight when used to replace less fatty and sugary alternative options.
Here are just a few of the nutrients pumpkins have to offer:
One of the most plentiful of these nutrients is Vitamin A. The body turns the ingested beta-carotene found in pumpkin into this vital nutrient. Vitamin A is a major aid to the eyes, especially in preventing the worsening of eyesight with age.
Pumpkin is also a natural source of anti-oxidants. This function neutralizes free radicals, which could boost your ability to fight off cancer. While they won’t cure serious diseases such as cancer, these anti-oxidants could help protect you proactively. These anti-oxidants also can decrease your risk of heart attacks.
Potassium, which is found in high levels in pumpkin, is a natural way to help lower your blood pressure, which is known to decrease your risk of cardiac disease. It has also been clinically proven to decrease your risk of stroke. These two factors make pumpkin an immensely heart-healthy choice.
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
There are a hefty plethora of ways to incorporate pumpkin into your daily diet. It can be prepared in a wide variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. The versatility of pumpkin preparations makes it easy to increase your intake of and receive those amazing benefits mentioned above. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out some of these yummy pumpkin-packed recipes!
Tasty Pumpkin Soup
One of the most popular preparations of pumpkin is to blend it into a beautiful soup. There are many different variations of pumpkin soup, and the combinations are limitless. Just combine pumpkin with vegetables like sweet potato or squash; season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and garlic; add a liquid stock of your choice; and mix in a high power blender until smooth. Enjoy hot and fresh for a cozy fall meal. To keep this recipe low-sodium, skip the salt and add extra cinnamon or garlic. This way, you still get flares of flavor without the added health risks.
Spinach and Pumpkin Salad
A super-easy way to get more pumpkin into your diet is to simply eat it raw. Raw pumpkin can add a beautiful crunch and texture to an otherwise boring salad. Just chop it up into bite-sized pieces or shave it on top of some leafy greens and spinach. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil over the finished salad for a pop of flavor.
Pumpkin Bran Muffins
One of the most common ways of preparing pumpkin is to add the puree into the batter and dough of baked goods. While this preparation can be the trickiest due to the commonality of excess sugar in these recipes, it can also be the tastiest. Pick a recipe with low added sugar such as bran muffins and try adding some pumpkin puree and cinnamon for a new fall twist. To make this recipe a healthier option, try using egg whites instead of whole eggs, and low-fat or non dairy products.
Pumpkin: The Fall Superfood
Overall, the pumpkin deserves far more recognition for its nutritious value along with a spot on your plate. Try these new meal ideas and experience a new take on an old fall favorite. It’s not just for your lattes or decorations anymore.