Fall is pumpkin season! Many people think of pumpkins as simply a Halloween decoration or a Thanksgiving pie filling. There is no question pumpkins make beautiful fall décor and a delicious pumpkin pie but did you know that their benefits go far beyond that? In fact, pumpkins are an extremely healthy option to add into your diet and there are plenty of interesting (and tasty) ways to do it.
What Makes Pumpkins So Healthy?
This plump, nutritious orange fruit (yes, it is considered a fruit) is an often overlooked source of essential nutrients with a subtle taste that can be adapted and incorporated into a number of different recipes. Pumpkins are a powerhouse of nutrients and incorporating this superfood into your diet can be an unexpected source of energy and nutrition for your body.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkins
Pumpkins are considered a part of the squash family and while there are dozens of varieties of pumpkin, they all boast much of the same health benefits and nutritional properties.
As a nutrient-dense food, pumpkins are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a solid source of Vitamins C, E, B2, and minerals such as Potassium, Manganese, and Iron. However, the pumpkin's superpower lies in its vault of vitamin A. In fact, just one serving of pumpkin accounts for 245% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A.
The abundance of vitamin A in pumpkin comes from its properties as one of the best-known antioxidant sources of beta-carotene. The pumpkin's beta-carotene combined with your body's ability to convert that antioxidant into vitamin A provides you with an excellent boost to your overall health and immune system.
Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin to Your Diet
- A low-calorie food with a high nutrition value and a source of fiber can contribute to weight loss
- Can provide protection for your vision from certain eye-related diseases
- Its high beta carotene content may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration
- Consumption of vitamin A - which is plentiful in pumpkin - promotes healthy and clear skin
Simple Tips to Add Pumpkin to Your Diet
Adding pumpkin to your diet will give you a boost of nutrition and allow you to reap some of the pumpkin's best health benefits. While it might not be the best idea to eat pumpkin pie each day, there are many other creative and healthy ways to add in pumpkin to your daily diet.
Add to Your Smoothie
Move over pumpkin spice latte; add some pumpkin purée and a pinch of your favorite spices for a refreshing and tasty fall-inspired smoothie to start your day or following a workout.
Replace Oil with Pumpkin in Baked Goods
A clever way to reduce the calories and improve the nutritional benefits of your favorite baked goods is to swap out the oil for pumpkin puree. From pumpkin pancakes to cookies, breads, and muffins; enjoy more flavor and less guilt with this easy substitution.
Don't Forget the Seeds
Take advantage of the entire pumpkin and remove the seeds to roast in your oven for a low-calorie and crunchy snack or topping for your favorite soup and salad. Play with different combinations of spices and condiments to try savory or sweet flavor profiles.
Soups & Stews
Pumpkin makes a great addition to many fall stews and soups. Pair it up with a protein such as chicken, beef, or lentils to create a hearty and nutritious meal for you and your family.
Pumpkin Pro Tip: Canned pumpkin can be a hot commodity come fall and may be hard to find. Consider the healthier alternative and make your own. If you own a slow cooker or electric pressure cooker it is a simple process and just one pumpkin can yield you a significant amount of pumpkin purée.
Enjoy finding creative and delicious ways of incorporating pumpkin into your diet and sharing your creations with family and friends.
Moorings Park communities proudly offer many healthy dining options for our residents with a wide selection of casual and fine dining restaurants in each of our communities. Contact us for more information on our communities, lifestyle, and the amenities available.