It seems like before you can even put away the bathing suits from summer, the stores are already filled with bright, orange pumpkins alerting the country that fall has arrived. Soon you’ll be covered in pumpkin guts and carving cute little faces into the funky orange globes and before you can even light a candle in the hollowed pumpkin it’ll be time to get out the Thanksgiving decorations.
Did you know that the pumpkins at your front door are loaded with nutritional value? Any Registered Dietitian, a nutrition expert who has completed a Dietitian Degree Program, would tell you that pumpkins are nutritional powerhouses. If, despite your best efforts, you manage to eat more Snickers than pumpkin this Halloween, start exercising! If you don’t know your way around a gym, enlist the help of a fitness expert, preferably someone who has completed their Personal Fitness Trainer certification courses, and get moving!
Check out these nutritional benefits that makes jack-o-lanterns nothing to make silly faces at, according to pumpkinhealthbenefits.com.
- Pumpkins are high in fiber! Not only does fiber help you lose weight by increasing feelings of fullness, it also aids in digestion, lowers cholesterol and helps protect against heart disease by decreasing risk of blood clots.
- Pumpkins are high in potassium! Potassium is important for your ticker! It is a mineral that assists in regulating blood pressure and proper heart function.
- Pumpkins are high in zinc! Zinc is awesome for reducing prostate size and helping with reproductive health.
- Pumpkins are high in vitamin C! Vitamin C is great for proper immune functions, destroys free radicals (responsible for cellular damage), helps produce collagen (important for wound and injury recovery), and may help fight against cancer!
- Pumpkins are high in vitamin E! Vitamin E has incredible antioxidant properties, which are vital for skin health and skin care, along with anti-aging benefits for your precious skin. In addition, Vitamin E works with the body to regulate Vitamin A, and aids in treating sun burns and various irritations.
- Pumpkins are high in magnesium! Magnesium is a key mineral that is imperative for many bodily functions, especially in bone and teeth formation.
- Pumpkins have a lot of carotenoids! Carotenoids help to fight against cancer, heart disease, cataracts and blindness. It also helps fight against the effects of aging, protects against cholesterol build-up and provides incredible anti-inflammatory benefits.
Don’t throw away the newspaper-wrapped pumpkin insides just yet! Those seeds are very good for you!
Here’s why pumpkin seeds are nutritional rock stars, according to harvestroast.com:
- Full of minerals: Zinc, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Copper & Iron
- Contain healthy fat, which help lower the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increase the “good” cholesterol (HDL).
- Contains Omega 3 & 6 Essential Fatty Acids.
- Rich in Vitamins E, C, A and B and Niacin and Amino Acids
- Full of dietary fiber and protein
- Useful in prevention of male prostate problems and improved bladder function.
So, what can you do with pumpkins and their seeds? There’s the obvious pumpkin pie, but think a little outside of the box. Cut the raw pumpkin into pieces, remove the skin with a peeler and either boil or roast in the oven. Use the cooked pumpkin in soups, pumpkin bread, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, smoothies, muffins, cakes, and the list goes on and on! Also, don’t wait until October to enjoy the health benefits of pumpkins! You can buy canned pumpkin year-round, but be sure you buy pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling!
Ok, what about the seeds? You can roast the seeds and eat them for a snack, toss ‘em onto salads or into breads…mmm! However you choose to eat pumpkin, you’ll be doing your body a big favor! We’ve got that covered, now on to figuring out how to not inhale your kid’s bag of candy!
Jessica Kerr, a nutrition expert and writer, is dedicated to equipping people with vital nutrition and fitness information so they can make healthy life choices. As a strong believer in moderation, she loves the holidays and likes teaching people how to stay healthy while enjoying the season!