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There’s more to pumpkins than a pretty (scary) face. In addition to being a great pie filling and carving canvas, pumpkins are a potent source of nutritional goodness! Consider adding some pumpkin seeds, canned pumpkin, or fresh pumpkin to your diet so you can be powered by fall’s favorite fruit.
It’s A Superfood
Pumpkin is many things: a winter squash; a relative to the humble cucumber and sweet, sweet melon; a seed-bearing fruit; and a superfood. Pumpkin is high in a wide variety of nutrients and low in calories. Pierce that hard outer rind and its nourishing flesh will yield up all kinds of health benefits.
Pumpkin is rich with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Because of its high amount of beta carotene, pumpkin is great for bolstering vision and protecting against age-related macular degeneration. Its dense vitamin content can also boost your immune system and improve your heart health.
Pumpkin seeds (also known as "pepita") are a tasty, chewy treat that also packs quite a nutritious punch. Dense with good fat and proteins, pumpkin seeds are a strong source of antioxidants, potassium, vitamin B2, and folate (which can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve brain health and function). The antioxidant content in pumpkin seeds helps reduce inflammation and protect your skin cells from free radicals, which is why eating pumpkin and pumpkin seeds is good for your skin.
Pumpkin seeds also contain:
- Vitamin K
Canned pumpkin has two additional benefits over fresh pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is a great way to help you cut cravings by providing a filling, low-calorie food source. Canned pumpkin also has a higher content of fiber than its fresh form; that’s one of the reasons why it’s often recommended as a natural laxative alternative.
Dessert and healthy aren’t two words we naturally associate with each other, but it’s true in the case of pumpkin pie. It’s one of the healthiest pies you can eat because of its lower amounts of calories and saturated fats. Part of the reason why is due to the traditional single crust for the pie, whereas the all-American apple pie opts for a fattier double crust. Pumpkin pie also has a high amount of protein and calcium, so it’s a great way to refuel on some essential nutrients after having a decadent fall feast.
What can you make with canned pumpkin besides pie? Check out a few recipes on your favorite food site. Here are some to get started: