6 Nutritious Reasons To Indulge In Pumpkin
When we think of Halloween, we picture children laughing in colorful costumes, jack-o'-lanterns glowing in house windows, buckets brimming with candy and of course, everyone’s favorite—pumpkin-spice-flavored everything.
And while we all love pumpkin flavored treats; there’s good reason to love the real thing. With an abundance of healthy vitamins that benefit everything from immune health to heart health, you can enjoy pumpkin all season long.
Nutritious & Delicious: The Perks of Pumpkin
Eye health. Just a one cup of cooked pumpkin contains an ample amount of vitamin A—200 percent of the daily recommended amount—and beta-carotene. These nutrients protect the surface of the eye, help prevent dry eye and support overall eye health.
Heart health. Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, a plant-based compound that supports healthy cholesterol levels. In fact, phytosterols can lower the levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol, by about 10 percent.
Skin health. With three different antioxidants, vitamin A, beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A) and Riboflavin, pumpkins are filled with skin-boosting nutrients. These nutrients work to prevent dry skin, as well as wrinkles.
Mental health. Inside of each pumpkin seed you’ll find a hefty dose of tryptophan, an amino acid that supports the production of serotonin, which improves mood.
Digestive health. Pumpkins are rich in copper, a holistic mineral that supports the body’s metabolism and the absorption of iron. Pumpkins also contain potassium, a nutrient that supports healthy digestion.
Immune health. With nearly 20 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C in one cup, pumpkins offer a hearty amount of this essential vitamin. And while the verdict is still out on just how much vitamin C impacts immune health, it definitely supports overall health.
So…what are the best ways to prepare pumpkin?
The good news is that pumpkin is incredibly versatile. You can include it in soups, breakfast foods and much, much more. To help you get started with cooking your new favorite food, here are some of the basics to keep in mind:
You Can Bake It: After halving the pumpkin and removing the seeds, place the pumpkin face down in a 9x13 dish. Cook it for 1 to 2 hours at 350 degrees. Once it’s cool, scrape out the flesh and add in your favorite toppings.
You Can Boil It: After halving the pumpkin, remove the seeds and the skin. Cut the flesh into cubes and boil in water for 15 to 30 minutes, or until tender.
You Can Roast It: Start with hollowing out the pumpkin by removing the seeds and strings. You’ll then place the entire pumpkin in a 9x13 dish and cook it at 350 degrees for 1 to 2 hours. The fun thing about this method is you can fill the pumpkin with various types of stuffing.
While pumpkins are certainly a fall favorite, there are many fresh, nutritious fruits and veggies to enjoy this time of year. Enjoy exploring the different tastes and textures of fall, while getting all the health benefits, too.
To ensure that you’re fulfilling your body with the unique nutrition needs it has, make sure to work with Nutrition & Weight Management experts. As an essential part of overall health, your diet has the power to make you feel better and look better. Make sure you’re eating to your full potential.