You’re exclaiming BUT IT’S STILL SUMMER! It is indeed, but Autumn (September 23rd) will be here before you know it. And suddenly you’re surrounded with all manner of Pumpkin & Spice. We’d like to share why it’s a great idea to join the Great Pumpkin this coming season, to get a leg up on your health and wellness!
Pumpkin is a winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, and is native to North America. You might think of it as a vegetable, but pumpkin is scientifically a fruit because it contains seeds. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked. The seeds are incredibly useful as well, and can be eaten raw (pepitas) or roasted.
One cup of cooked pumpkin contains:
- Calories: 49
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Copper: 11% of the RDI
- Manganese: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
- Iron: 8% of the RDI
- Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.
Because of its high antioxidant content, pumpkin may help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases. Pumpkin contains alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, which may protect your cells against free radical damage. It’s also packed with Vitamin A to help strengthen your immune system, and Vitamin C to increase white blood cell production and make wounds heal faster.
Pumpkins are nutrient dense, but low in calories, which makes it an ideal weight loss food. Pumpkin is about 94% water, which may make it easier to digest. But it’s also packed with fiber to help you feel full.
While this is not a free pass to eat all the Pumpkin Pie you can get your hands on… you might be encouraged to include pumpkin in more of your everyday foods. You can make it sweet or savory, and enjoy it in everything from soups to… yes, pie. To make things a little healthier, maybe sub the sugar for date nectar as you prep those traditional treats in the coming season.