Why You Should Eat More Pumpkin this Season
Health Benefits of Consuming Pumpkin This Fall
‘Tis the season for homemade soups and breads, many of which contain pumpkin in one way or another. Pumpkin contains many nutrients you may not have known. Pumpkin can be found in the form of breads, soups, protein shakes, pies, and porridges. Here is a list of why you shouldn’t think twice about incorporating pumpkin into your diet.
Contains high levels of potassium: Potassium is most widely known to help the heart function properly everyday. Without it, the contractions of your heart will slowly weaken and raise your blood pressure. Potassium is an all around super-mineral that your body will always crave. It helps with muscle recovery, anxiety and stress, kidney function, and nervous system (WebMD)
Rich in Carotenoids: Pumpkin contains beta-carotenes, which are types of carotenoids that convert to Vitamin A, which the body highly values. Carotenoids are the pigment found in most vivid-colored fruits and vegetables. These important nutrients help in the function of white blood cells, which aid the immune system in fighting off infections. Studies have shown they help prevent cancer -forming cells. Carotenoids are friends of your eyes as well. They work with your retinas to improve eyesight, including night vision. (WebMD)
Good source of Fiber: Pumpkin has 7 grams of fiber per cup, which can lead you well on your way to your daily serving of about 20-30 grams a day. Fiber promotes proper bowel movements, and prevents constipation (MayoClinic). Fiber helps regulate your blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer (WebMD).
High in Vitamin C: Increased consumption of Vitamin C levels are known to aid in preventing colds as well as promote bone and tissue growth (WebMD). Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body does not store it and you need to be continually consuming it. It is recommended to digest it in food form rather than by pill or supplement.
The smell and sight of pumpkin is exciting alone, but now you know how good it is to eat it. With that being said, you have to be careful of what pumpkin foods you do eat. If you’re like me, you want to indulge in the seasonal treats, but without worrying about the excessive calories or sugar that come with them. So try to steer away from the pumpkin donuts and bars in the coffee shops, and look to the squash soups and pumpkin breads that are made with whole ingredients. Try making some of your own treats so you know exactly what you are putting into your body.
Below is an easy recipe that is a fall favorite with my family. It is something that we can indulge in but not feel guilty about. These paleo pumpkin waffles are perfect for an after workout meal or snack.
Paleo Pumpkin Waffles
½ cup pumpkin puree (make sure pumpkin is listed as the only ingredient)
¼ cup coconut or almond milk (again, the less ingredients in the milk, the better)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
Mix all dry ingredients and wet ingredients separate, and then slowly add the dry to the wet until mixed completely. Pour into greased (with coconut oil) waffle iron and serve with maple syrup, bananas, almond butter, or whatever you fancy.