Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pumpkin Season Has Arrived

When prepared in a healthy way, pumpkin is a great source of many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. With 50 calories and 3g of fiber per cup, pumpkin keeps you full in a weight conscious way. It is also a great source of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana. 

The bright orange color comes from carotenoid pigments which have been shown to decrease risk of chronic disease, cancer, and eye disease.

Beta-carotene, one type of carotenoid, is used by the body to make vitamin A. This is needed for immune function, healthy vision, and keeping skin looking youthful. Zeaxanthin is another carotenoid found in pumpkin which can prevent macular degeneration.

Pumpkin seeds are just as nutritious and offer a great source of magnesium, which is essential for energy production and DNA synthesis. They are  also packed with zinc which is vital for taste and sense of smell, building healthy red blood cells, and supporting healthy bones.

The seeds also contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which reduces inflammation. They also contain phytosterols which can help lower cholesterol. 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds has around 150 calories, you can easily toss the seeds in olive oil and roast them at 400°F for 20 minutes. They add a nice crunch to salads, oatmeal, or mixed into healthy muffins.

Baking pumpkin instead of boiling helps retain more nutrients. If this is too much work canned pumpkin puree that is unsweetened is an easy option as well. Eat roasted pumpkin as a tasty side dish or add pumpkin puree to soup, smoothies, oatmeal, or hummus.

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