10/18 Health & Wellness Tip – Pumpkin

Thanks to canning, I eat pumpkin year-round! (I actually do stock up just to be on the safe side.) There are still some pumpkin foods I eat only at this time of year – pumpkin pie and pumpkin ice cream are two that come to mind.

Did you realize that pumpkin is a superfood? At least according to Steven Pratt, MD and Kathy Matthews, the authors of SuperFoods Rx. This book is about those superfoods that I refer to as “common” superfoods (i.e., blueberries, walnuts, oats, pumpkin) because they are very accessible and not too costly. Then there are those superfoods that I call “exotic” superfoods (i.e., goji berries, maca, spirulina, aloe vera). They are becoming more common than they used to be; however, not necessarily inexpensive. These “exotic” superfoods come from David “Avocado” Wolfe’s book, Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future.

According to SELF Nutrition Data (I love this website for obtaining nutrition information about specific foods), 1 cup of canned, no salt pumpkin has 83 calories, 7g of fiber, and more than 700% of your daily Vitamin A needs. Pumpkin has both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. The body converts these to Vitamin A (pg 100, SuperFoods Rx).

According to SuperFoods Rx, these are some of the health benefits we may derive from eating foods rich in carotenoids, such as pumpkin:

  • decreased risk of some cancers, such as lung, colon, bladder, cervical, breast, and skin;
  • decreased risk of cataracts and macular degeneration; and
  • decreased risk of heart disease.

Here is a breakfast dish with pumpkin that I created and we enjoy on a regular basis – Hot Superfoods Oatmeal. There are plenty of recipes online for pumpkin pudding and, of course, pumpkin pie. The can of pumpkin I have also suggests these ideas for enjoying pumpkin: layer it in a parfait with yogurt, honey, and almonds or walnuts OR mix some with vanilla yogurt for a quick snack.

How do you enjoy pumpkin?

by Michele Spear

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