If you thought that pumpkins were only good for pumpkin carving then you thought wrong!
Pumpkins are more than just festive fall decorations … they are super tasty and super beneficial to your health. These pretty, plump babies are low in calories and rich in dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Here are some great reasons to pump up your pumpkin intake.
Pumpkins are a good source of Vitamin A , a power packed antioxidant which is particularly important in the preservation of those peepers, helping us to maintain healthy vision. Vitamin A also keeps our skin and mucus membranes in good order, by assisting our body to fight free radicals. Vitamin A has also been reported to sport anti-inflammatory benefits assisting in the prevention of conditions like arthritis.
Most of us are aware that Vitamin C is beneficial in assisting our overall immunity but did you know that is also encourages collagen production in the skin which can help provide us with that beautiful glowing skin we desire? It also helps the skin to maintain its elasticity preventing those unwanted wrinkles that we get with aging. I like to call them character lines …
Pumpkins are a great source of dietary fibre, the combination of this as well as its low calorie content make it a great food to add into your daily diet if you are trying to lose those unwanted kilos. Fibre helps us to feel full and its binding qualities allow it to clean out our digestive systems by eliminating waste and unwanted toxins. This allows our bodies to perform at its best. A diet high in fibre can also be beneficial for our blood cholesterol levels lowering our risk of heart disease.
Pumpkins contain minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Calcium and magnesium are both great for maintaining healthy chompers (teeth) and bones. Potassium is vital for keeping our heart and our muscles working at their best, iron is important in the carrying of oxygen in the blood and zinc can be beneficial in preventing hypertension, it is also known to benefit our skin, immune systems and ladies … fertility.
A chemical compound that the body cannot produce on its lonesome, produced by animals and plants this essential amino acid once absorbed into our bods is converted to serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for our moods and is therefor beneficial in reducing stress, anxiety and insomnia which can lead to depression. Serotonin assists us to feel happy… clap along if you feel like a room without a roof!
So it turns out, the delicious pumpkin flesh is not the only part of the pumpkin that is edible as well as credible. Pumpkin seeds are actually amazing for your health too. Pumpkin seeds, commonly known as pepitas (note; pepitas usually refer to hulled or roasted pumpkin seeds) are their own nutritional powerhouses and can help your health in more ways than one. Loaded with vitamins and minerals these seeds are a good source of protein, vitamin k, zinc, L-tryptophan, vitamin E and fibre.
Tip: Try adding pepitas to your cereal, salad or add it to your trail mix recipe for some extra nutrition and a boost of protein.
Looking for a sweet and spicy recipe? Try something different with your pumpkin and make a delicious Pumpkin Spice smoothie. It is the breakfast or dessert recipe especially in the fall seasons for all of my US friends.
- 1-2 cups steamed pumpkin (make sure pumpkin has cooled)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 small banana
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- tsp cinnamon
- tsp all spice
- tsp nutmeg
- tsp vanilla
- 1 cup ice
- Put all the ingredients into the Vitamix 2L container in the order listed and secure the lid.
- Select Variable 1. Turn the machine on and quickly increase the speed to 10, then override to High.
- Use tamper to effectively press the ingredients into the blades if required whilst processing.
- Blend for 60-90 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.
- Stop the machine and serve.