Pumpkins are a great excuse to drink lattes, but did you know that pumpkins are also full of nutrients?
When autumn rolls around, we are inundated with pumpkin-flavored treats. From pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cereal, to pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread, the changing season sparks an obsession with this humble vegetable.
Of course, many pumpkin-flavored treats are just that: pumpkin flavored treats. Up until recently, the beloved Starbucks pumpkin spice latte contained no trace of pumpkin whatsoever. Many seasonal pumpkin specialties are full of sugar, high in fat, heavy with refined carbohydrates and loaded with artificial color and flavor.
And that’s a real pity, because pumpkin is a powerhouse food.
The Powerhouse Pumpkin
Here are some of the reasons why pumpkin—real pumpkin—is worth obsessing about.
- Benefits of Pumpkin Flesh: The flesh of the pumpkin is a bright orange color, which comes from an abundance of the antioxidant vitamin A. Just one cup of pumpkin offers 245% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. Pumpkin is also a good source of potassium, which can speed workout recovery. The average American consumes too much sodium and not enough potassium. Potassium lowers cholesterol, improves heart health, and reduces the risk of stroke.
- Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds have been shown to increase heart health and regulate blood sugar. Pumpkin seeds are an obvious choice for people interested in a fiber boost. Another reason to eat pumpkin seeds is the high levels of magnesium they contain. Magnesium is necessary for many chemical reactions that take place in the body, and nearly 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
- Benefits of Pumpkin Oil: Studies show promising evidence that pumpkin seed oil can reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seed oil is also used to alleviate urinary problems and enlarged prostate. Additionally, pumpkin seed oil is a good source of zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral that is frequently used to treat digestive disturbance and diarrhea. Zinc supports healthy skin as well and is used to treat acne.
Thankfully, you can skip the pumpkin treats and find far better and more nutritious ways to incorporate pumpkin in your lifestyle. Pumpkin can be purchased at your local supermarket. For cooking purposes, look for smaller pumpkins, which are generally more meaty, and avoid the large pumpkins that are intended for jack-o-lantern carving! Pumpkin can be roasted or baked. Cooked pumpkin flesh can be cubed, pureed or mashed and then added to soups, stews, casseroles, smoothies, and puddings. The seeds can be removed, washed, and toasted for additional flavor.
Pumpkin is the perfect accompaniment to UB Super protein nutritional shake. Check out these delightful autumn recipes to round out your pumpkin repetoire.