Pumpkins: Fun, Festive, and Surprisingly Healthful

October 14th, 2021

Something about that new chill in the air always makes me think of pumpkins. I suppose it could have something to do with how they are all lined up outside grocery and garden stores this time of year, nestled between pots of sunny chrysanthemums and moody Halloween décor. If you’re as tempted as I am to grab one or two to decorate your doorstep, add one of those small sugar or pie pumpkins to your haul. Or, if you’re not into that level of weightlifting, head inside the store and stock up on a few cans of pumpkin puree (the plain, unsweetened kind, please). Whether you get your puree from a can or make it yourself (I tell you how in my blog on What to Do With a Sugar Pumpkin, you’ll be doing your body a favor. Pumpkin is incredibly nutritious and just as good in savory recipes as sweet ones. Here’s just a sample of the nutritional benefits pumpkins have to offer:

  • Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A with major antioxidant power that’s great for your heart, eyes, lungs, and skin.
  • Fiber, for feeding a healthy microbiome, keeping you regular, and helping to sweep up excess hormones.
  • Potassium, for better blood pressure control and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Only 49 calories in a whole cup, which means you get all the nutritional benefits for barely any calories. Pumpkin is the definition of nutrient-dense.

To get all that goodness, all you have to do is drop a dollop of puree into your smoothie, mix a spoonful into your yogurt or oatmeal, or stir some into soup, stew, casserole, stir-fry, even your kids’ mac-and-cheese (they’ll never know and I promise not to tell). Whatever healthful recipe you are making, pumpkin can add even more fiber and nutrients, plus that irresistible fall flavor that has everyone craving sweater weather.

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