Many people think pumpkins are simply for carving or used as holiday decorations, but there are many surprising health benefits to adding pumpkin to your diet:
- WEIGHT LOSS. Pumpkin contains about 33% of our daily fiber needed in 1 cup and is low in calories. Fiber lowers your risk for heart disease, aids in digestion and keeps you full longer to help with weight loss.
- EYE HEALTH. One cup of pumpkin has 7x the Vitamin A we need for good vision and contains Vitamin E & beta carotene, which protects our eyes from free radical damage and degeneration.
- BLOOD PRESSURE. The fiber, potassium and Vitamin C is good for heart health & intake of potassium is almost as important as decreasing sodium to help lower blood pressure.
- LOWERS RISK FOR CANCER. Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene. A diet rich in beta carotene helps lower the risk for colon, prostate and lung cancers.
- YOUNGER LOOKING SKIN. The beta-carotene protects us from wrinkle-causing UV rays. The pulp can be used in an all-natural face mask that smoothes and exfoliates the skin (details below)!
- IMPROVES IMMUNITY. The high Vitamin A content helps fight infections, viruses and disease. The Vitamin C helps is believed to help fight the common cold.
- FERTILITY. One cup contains half our daily iron needs. Iron is good for not only making hemoglobin, which transports oxygen through our body but studies show that consuming more iron improves fertility. The Vitamin A is also needed for hormone production during pregnancy.
- BOOST MOOD. Pumpkin seeds are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan that helps boost the production of serotonin. Many people believe that tryptophan in turkey is what makes us tired but is actually believed to be due to overeating.
Ways to incorporate more pumpkin into your diet is to chop it up and include it in a roasted vegetable dish, add pumpkin seeds to your salad, add it to a smoothie, make pumpkin soup, and pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin can be used as a SUBSTITUTE for oil or butter when cooking. I recommend making your own puree and if you buy canned pumpkin, make sure pumpkin is the ONLY ingredient! Here’s to your health!