The typical pumpkin craze is likely not simmering anytime soon, so brace yourself for the “pumpkin everything” season to continue well into the holidays. But putting aside the “pumpkin spice”, is buying a pumpkin, carving it, cleaning it, and chopping it up, really worth all the while? The answer is YES. Here’s why:
Benefit Eyes and Skin
As previously discussed, pumpkin contains two powerful antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect the eyes from the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration, pumpkins also contain beta-carotene in which in then converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eyes which can help improve or maintain vision. Alongside with its benefit on eyes, vitamin A and the vitamin C found in pumpkin can help boost collagen production – preventing signs of aging.
Finding ways to make meals delicious, yet meal plan friendly, may be difficult during this time of year. However, substituting the usual mashed potatoes with pumpkin puree is a great alternative. One half cup of pumpkin puree contains about 50 calories and up to 3 grams of fiber. Add a few of your favorite herbs and spices, and you’ll be sure to give your meal a sweet and savory twist.
Great for Post-Workouts
Finding “post-workout acceptable” foods is always challenging – the worst thing that can happen is that you can eat something that might make that hard work go to waste. Pumpkin is a great food to add to a post-workout meal. Not only is it low calorie, but it contains more potassium than a banana! Potassium can help restore your electrolyte balance and can help your muscles recover faster.
With cooler weather comes flu season, so stocking up on vitamin C is essential. Luckily, the vitamin A that helps improve your eyesight can actually also help with fighting off infections. But of course, vitamin C, the immunity booster, is key from keeping you from falling under the weather. One cup of pumpkin contains about 20% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
Lastly, the most incredible thing about pumpkin is that it’s nearly all edible! And of course we couldn’t leave out the seeds. Pumpkin seeds, also referred to as “pepitas”, are packed with 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber per one-ounce serving. In addition these seeds can help improve your mood due to aiding the production of serotonin. So toss a few on your next sweet or savory meal for a flavor or crunchy boost.