Hey Pumpkin!

My 4-year-old daughter and I both worked on this photo! She colored the "boy" pumpkin in the back (and called him Jack), while I drew "Jill's" face :)

My 4-year-old daughter and I both worked on this photo! She colored the “boy” pumpkin in the back (and called him Jack), while I drew “Jill’s” face 🙂

“Hey, pumpkin!”

What’s in a name? Those which we call pumpkin by any other name would taste as sweet?

Ok now, Shakespeare didn’t really say that, but to answer his (pretend) question: As a matter of fact, yes! There’s more to your Jack-O-Lantern than meets the eye this fall, when everything around you all of a sudden becomes pumpkin this, pumpkin that (from cake to bread to salad to soup– you name it, pumpkin has it!).

So what is it about pumpkins that we love so much?

First of all, as you might guess from their bright orange color, pumpkins are a great source of the antioxidants carotenoids (including beta-carotene), which can be converted into Vitamin A for providing good eye support (like its good old orange cousin, the carrot). A cup of mashed pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A! According to the NIH and the National Cancer Institute, the antioxidants found in pumpkins are good shields against free-radicals, thus making pumpkins good  protectors against cancer. The carotenoids in pumpkins also promote good skin, as they help in preventing and fighting off wrinkles.

Another benefit of pumpkins goes to those who are trying to lose weight, or those who are trying to include some more fiber into their diets. The good news is, with only 49 calories per cup, pumpkins contain 3 grams of fiber.

What about a post-workout pumpkin? A cup of pumpkin provides more potassium (564 mg) than the highly reputable banana (422 mg). That’s great for muscle function and for electrolyte balance after breaking a heavy sweat.

And just when cold and flu season is drawing near, pumpkins may offer a good immune-boosting effect because of its high vitamin C content. One cup provides 11 mg out of the 60 mg recommended daily requirement (for women–men require around 75 mg).

Pumpkins are also good for diabetes, as they are proven to lower blood glucose levels (despite their sweet taste), as they increase insulin production and improve glucose tolerance.

And while the seeds may be a favorite part of the pumpkin for many people, they may not know the great nutritional values of this delicious snack: first of all, the seeds contain phytosterol, which plays a role in lowering LDL cholesterol (the “bad” guy). They’re also great for your cholesterol levels because they are nature’s one of the best plant-based sources of Omega 3’s, which are great in pumping up your HDL cholesterol levels. Not only that, but pumpkin seeds are also rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that plays an essential role in the production of serotonin, the hormone that helps you sleep better and calms you down (so, in short, pumpkin seeds are good for your mood). Personally, pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite snacks and add-ons (in salads, on a hummus spread, or even on a gluten-free pizza), and I try fitting them into my daily diet as a sidekick for my thyroid. That’s because pumpkin seeds are a chock full of zinc, with one ounce of seeds containing more than 2 mg of this mineral (which is also good for immunity and cell growth).

So the bottom line is…

Savor in every pumpkin bite this harvest! 😀

-Roula
Jill pumpkin

 

 

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Categories: Nutri-Nut

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