Pumpkin Season is more than just pies and lattes. Pumpkin, a type of winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, is native to North America. Though it is a fruit, it’s closer to vegetables in terms of nutrition. According to the Food Revolution Network, this popular symbol for the fall season can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Pumpkin can be an easy and inexpensive way to enhancement your health and add color to your meals. Pumpkins were an essential part of the Aztec and Mayan diets thousands of years ago. Early Native Americans also ate pumpkin flesh to help them survive the long winters. Pumpkin seeds were used for food and as medicine. Pumpkins were also crucial to the survival of the pilgrims who came over from Europe. The Food revolution Network reports that without pumpkins, many of the early settlers would have died. Here are few ways pumpkins are beneficial:
- Pumpkins seeds are nutrient powerhouses and pumpkin flesh is also rich in nutrients. It’s packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including high in vitamin C and antioxidants, including beta-carotene and other carotenoids, and can be eaten regularly to help you prosper throughout fall and winter.
- Beta-carotene and other carotenoids in pumpkins improve the tissue health of the liver and help detoxify the liver.
- The beta-carotene and the other carotenoids, including lutein, in pumpkins are important to the health of your eyes. The National Institutes of Health reports that a cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which can help improve your eye sight.
- Pumpkins are fibrous, which means they can help you feel fuller and satisfied longer. This slows down the rate of sugar absorption in the blood and is great for digestion.
- The antioxidants in pumpkins, especially the carotenoids and vitamins C and E, help improve your skin’s overall health.
- A study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases said that consuming enough potassium may be nearly as important as decreasing sodium (salt) intake for treating high blood pressure. The soluble fiber in pumpkin is also useful for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Pumpkins are packed with antioxidants and eating them often may help reduce the risk of many types of cancer.
- Eating pumpkin can have a variety of beneficial effects for diabetics — and for lowering blood sugar.
Pumpkin can be used in many ways. One delicious and easy way is adding pureed pumpkin to oatmeal, with some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. And if you want to make healthier choices, try to stay away from the pumpkin-flavored things like Pop-Tarts, Starbuck’s Lattes (a grande has almost 400 calories), and other pumpkin-themed products, all of which are high in sugar and flavorings. They might not even have any pumpkin at all! You should instead enjoy pumpkins while they’re in season.
(this list was compiled from information found on https://foodrevolution.org)
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