Although pumpkin is most commonly known for being a Jack-O-Lantern at Halloween, or as a delicious pie at Thanksgiving, Peter had it right – eating all that pumpkin was good for him. At only 50 calories per cup, and absolutely no saturated fat or cholesterol, this vegetable is super rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. No wonder it helped Peter read and write!
If you’re looking for more reasons and healthier ways to get this super food into your diet, check out the info below:
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
- Reduced wrinkles – Skip the expensive cosmetic creams and start eating pumpkin ladies! This squash is rich in carotenoids that help to reduce free-radicals so you can keep your skin wrinkle free, while also maintaining the integrity and collagen.
- Aids in Weight Loss – With only 50 calories per cup and a whopping 3 grams of fiber, this powerful food from nature helps to keep you full and aid in weight loss.
- Improved mood – Not only is pumpkin a good source of the B-Complex vitamins which help to increase your energy, decrease your cravings, and improve digestion, but the seeds have an amino acid that helps to release your feel-good hormone serotonin, which will leave you feeling pretty damn good after a handful.
- Perfect Post-Workout Meal – Looking to restore your electrolytes after a workout? Well pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana, which means you can keep your muscles and energy functioning at their best after a hard sweat session.
- Boost your Immunity – Pumpkin has lots of immunity bossing Vitamin-C to help ward of any colds or flus this season. Eat up ladies, because you don’t want to miss one of your workouts!
- Cancer Fighter – The plant sterols found in pumpkin have been linked to fighting off certain cancers, which is definitely enough of a reason to try some of the recipes below.
Go Ahead, Eat the Canned Stuff!
Wondering how you’re going to get all this good stuff out of your Jack-O-Lantern this year? Not to worry, the good news is that canned pumpkin is one of the healthiest processed foods you can eat from a can. It is simply pureed pumpkin concentrated down to only contain its most important vitamins and nutrients without the extra water. One cup of canned pumpkin has 7 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein— even more than the fresh stuff! Just make sure you don’t mistakenly buy the pumpkin pie puree instead.
Skip the Pie, and Eat it Healthy
Here are some quick, healthy and tasty ways to start eating your pumpkin!
Pumpkin Pie Parfait
- ¼ cup plain pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
- ½ large frozen banana
- 1 – 1 ½ cups almond milk (great for flavor and thickness!)
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- Add a small helping of nuts, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips or peanut butter to amp up the protein!
- Blend all the ingredients in a blender (minus the toppings), adding the almond milk as you go until reaching the desired consistency.
- Pour into glass and top with desired toppings!
Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake
- 1 cup almond milk
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup frozen banana or mango
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like to use Proteins Plus brand)
- 1 tsp. instant coffee (optional)
- Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Pumpkin Soup – Food Network
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 3 ½ pounds pumpkin, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- coarse salt, and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium pot.
- Add the pumpkin, onions and garlic.
- Simmer 20 minutes or until soft.
- Puree soup in a blender until smooth.
- Return soup to the pot to reheat.
- Season the soup with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Pour the soup into bowls.
- Swirl in some sour cream
Pumpkin Seed Snack
Pumpkin has the only seed in it that is alkaline-forming, which means it helps to reduce inflammation in your body, which is known to be a major cause of disease today. Another bonus is that it also contains high quality protein and zinc, both of which many women are missing in their diets and can significantly help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Lastly, if you can squeeze this seed into your snacks regularly, you could help decrease your chance of depression, making this especially important here in Canada during the winter months.
If you like to try different craft beers, during this time of the year you will often find pumpkin beer at your local LCBO. This delicious treat may just help to increase your health with knowing all the above benefits. Sippy sippy!
If you’re looking for a quick treat, combine gluten free pre-made brownie mix with one can of pumpkin puree. Skipping the butter and egg is not only healthier for you, but the pumpkin leaves the brownies beyond moist and rather tasty.
There are many other options when it comes to pumpkin, so be creative, experimental, and if you’d like, maybe share your ideas in the comments below.
Showing you the difference between liking and loving your body,
Ashley Dale Roy