Fall is finally here! How could you miss it with all the pumpkins everywhere? I love pumpkins for Halloween, but I love them even more to put in my belly thanks to all their amazing health benefits! Here are some reasons to stay away from “pumpkin flavored” foods that can be loaded with artificial flavorings and opt for the real thing instead. I promise your body will thank you for it!
1. Beta-carotene is a heath booster!
Pumpkins get their beautiful orange color from the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may be an important part of a cancer prevention diet. Beta-carotene is also said to help improve eyesight.
2. High potassium content
Many people love eating bananas after a hard workout because their potassium can help restore electrolyte balance. I’m a huge proponent of eating seasonally (and locally) and bananas are not in season in Texas, but pumpkins are and just one cup of cooked pumpkin holds even more potassium than a banana.
3. Helps prevent colds
Pumpkins are a surprisingly good source of vitamin C, which you definitely want more of as the temperatures start to drop since it may help boost, your immune system and help you from catching a cold.
An easy way to eat pumpkin
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An easy way to incorporate pumpkin into your diet is to cut up a pumpkin, roast the flesh and puree it. You can add pumpkin puree to almost anything, some of my favorites are: pancake or waffle batter, pasta with cheese, casseroles, soups and chili’s.
Don’t discard the seeds!
While you’re busy eating pumpkins this season make sure you save the seeds! They are even more of a nutritional powerhouse than the delicious flesh.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with the production of serotonin, which can help regulate mood and sleep. They are also rich in a variety of minerals including magnesium, potassium and zinc. They may even help prevent certain types of cancers thanks to their high levels of phytosterols.
So clean off your pumpkin seeds, place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle them with some olive oil and high quality sea salt and then put them in a 350 degree oven until they’re nice and crispy.