Many people see pumpkins as fun Halloween decorations rather than a nutritious food, but there are actually a lot of health benefits to eating pumpkins. Former OrthoIndy clinical nutrition manager, Jessica Regan, discusses the benefits of eating pumpkin.
Why is pumpkin good for you?
- Pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin A which can help maintain good eye health.
- Pumpkins have Vitamin C which is good for your immune system and repairing skin tissue
- Pumpkins are a good source of fiber, for your digestive system, and potassium, which benefits your muscle contraction, fluid and mineral balance and blood pressure
- Pumpkins are a fruit and one of the most nutritious fruits out there because it’s loaded with antioxidants and disease-fighting vitamins If you are on a diet, pumpkins can help you lose weight; For example, you can make a healthy pumpkin soup since it is low in calories and high in fiber
Is pumpkin fattening?
Pumpkin in itself is not fattening, however, be careful what you choose to make it with. For example, pumpkin pie can be fattening depending on what ingredients you use. Instead you can make a healthy pumpkin snack that does not have nearly as much fat as a pumpkin dessert.
Additionally, make sure you are choosing the right type of pumpkin. The pumpkins you carve tend to have watery, stringy flesh which is not good for cooking or taste appeal. Try “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins” which are much smaller and have a smoother, firmer and sweeter flesh – perfect for cooking!
When gutting a pumpkin, don’t discard the seeds. These seeds are a great source of zinc which is good for your immune system among many other body processes. Try drizzling olive oil over them and roasting them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, sprinkle with your favorite seasoning for some extra flavor.
What can you make with pumpkins?
The great thing about pumpkin is that it can be incorporated into many easy pumpkin recipes. Try it in casseroles, soups, chili, cookies, dips/spreads, oatmeal, pancakes or smoothies. Additionally, try to add seasonings like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. You can even use pureed pumpkin to replace eggs, butter or oil as a healthier option for treats such as cookies, muffins, cakes and loaves.
One of fall’s most popular flavors is already being used in all types of dishes. Whether you prefer to indulge in a rich pumpkin dessert, or a healthy pumpkin snack, there is a pumpkin dish for you.
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