Fall is my favorite season as it is defined by football, foliage, and pumpkins. While pumpkins are fabulous for carving Jack O’Lanterns during Halloween, the flesh of the pumpkin is highly nutritious and provide many health benefits.
Here are 5 reasons to include pumpkin on your plate this fall:
- Vitamin A and C: Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A and C, essential nutrients responsible for eye and vision health (Vitamin A) and a cofactor for several enzymatic reactions, collagen synthesis as well as a powerful antioxidant with immune benefits (Vitamin C).
- Potassium: 1 cup of cooked pumpkin provides more potassium than a banana! (Pumpkin 564mg vs. Banana 422mg) Potassium is a key electrolyte that has many significant roles in the body, including helping to manage hypertension or high blood pressure and muscle contractions. For those who exercise, pumpkin is an excellent food to help replenish potassium levels to prevent muscle cramping.
- Tryptophan: The seeds of the pumpkin are rich in the amino acid tryptophan which can positively influence mood. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is considered to be the main contributor to feelings of well being and happiness and tryptophan is responsible for the production of serotonin.
- Carotenoids: The orange hue of the pumpkin provides the antioxidant/free radical fighter beta carotene that has numerous health benefits to include cancer fighting properties!
- Phytosterols: Pumpkin seeds as well as other seeds are rich in phytosterols, a naturally occurring solid, unsaturated fat compound found in plants. Phytosterols successfully reduce LDL (low density lipoproteins or “bad” cholesterol) by reducing the production and absorption of bad cholesterol.
There are endless recipes on the internet incorporating pumpkin. One of my favorite websites for healthy recipes is Healthy Living How To and its creator Vanessa has some fabulous pumpkin recipes.
Enjoy pumpkin this fall knowing you are eating a food that can positively influence your health! #eatforyourhealth
The information provided in this post is for education only and is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor should it be used as a replacement for seeking medical treatment.
Copyright © Jaime Coffey Martinez, MS RD Nutrition CPR, LLC