The fall season is in swing meaning the flavors of autumn are also here. For centuries, pumpkin has been a fall favorite for many. Little do autumn lovers know, there are many benefits of pumpkin besides carving them for decoration. Additional benefits of pumpkin remain in their nutritional value.
Pumpkins carry a major supply of nutrients including Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C that benefits many areas of the body. The benefits of pumpkin exist in the healthy fiber. When eating pumpkin, this fiber tells you when your body is full. This benefit of pumpkin helps prevent over eating. However, the benefits of pumpkin are not just on the healthy side, but on the flavorsome side as well. Pumpkin can be used in a variety of dishes or beverages including ravioli, vegetable pilaf, pumpkin pie, a pumpkin pie shake, or even a pumpkin martini! The tasty benefits of pumpkin can turn an ordinary meal into a favorite meal.
The most unforeseen benefits of pumpkin remain in the seeds! Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, phosphorus and iron that are beneficial to important functions in the body. Instead of throwing them out, bake them to make a tasty, low-calorie fall snack that can lower cholesterol, keep healthy bones, and help prostate. Read the following article from Exercise4WeightLoss.com to learn more benefits of pumpkins.
Benefits of Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds
The benefits of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds is year round, however, there is never a better time to enjoy pumpkins than during the fall.
With the fall season comes many new fresh foods in season. Pumpkin is among these fall vegetables. Although pumpkins are most popular for carving into Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween decorations, many people will also roast the seeds but often throw away the pulp.
Instead, this fall season keep both the seeds and the pulp and make some new recipes. There are many healthy benefits from the pumpkin as well as the pumpkin seeds.
So save those seeds, buy an extra pumpkin during the holidays and enjoy the taste as well as the many healthy benefits from this colorful food.
Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkins are a great vegetable and have lots of nutritional value. A raw pumpkin per 1 cup serving has only 30 calories, 0 fat and cholesterol, 1 gram of dietary fiber and only 8 grams of carbohydrates.
This low calorie food offers lots of vitamins including vitamins A, B6, C and E. They are high in magnesium, phosphorus, iron, folate, niacin and thiamin. The list goes on and also includes beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
So how do all these great ingredients benefit you? Well the lutein and zeaxanthin can help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduces the risk of macular degeneration. The beta carotene can help prevent night blindness and other eye problems. It also helps enhance your immune system, and protects against colds, flu and infections. It is also believed that it can also reduce risk of cancer.
And then there’s the benefit of magnesium. Magnesium can help strengthen the formation of teeth and bones. Magnesium also helps your heart by helping stabilize the rhythm of your heart and prevents abnormal blood clotting.
Other Benefits of Pumpkin:
After you scoop out all the seeds to get to the raw pumpkin for your recipe, don’t throw out the seeds. There are many great benefits of pumpkin seeds and they are so tasty and fun to eat during the holiday season.
Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are dark green, flat seeds which are sometimes enclosed in a yellow-white husk. The pumpkin, like cantaloupe, cucumber and squash, belong to the gourd family.
Like the raw pumpkin, the pumpkin seed benefits are many. With similar nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus and iron, the pumpkin seeds are a very healthy food and make for a yummy and fun snack.
Key Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Promotes Prostate Health
For you men over 50 helping carve pumpkins this Halloween, be sure to save those seeds. Pumpkin seeds help promote a healthy prostate and minimize the issues such as urination problems due to an enlarged prostate. Prostate problems are most common in men over fifty.
Although tis the season for scary ghosts and skeletons, I’m not talking about a great looking skeleton with good bones hanging on your door for the “tricker treaters”. I’m talking about your bones. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and are a great natural resource for this much needed nutrition. Low levels of zinc are one of the links to osteoporosis.
In a recent study pumpkin seeds showed the same anti-inflammatory benefits as the non-steroid drug indomethacin. The good news on these results is that the pumpkin seeds did not have the same negative effect of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the lining of joints like the anti-inflammatory drug. Okay, so this study was conducted on animals, but the healing benefits of pumpkin seeds for arthritis relief is a potential benefit to humans.
Another known benefit of pumpkin seeds is their ability to help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. That is because the seeds have phytosterols, a compound that not only helps lower cholesterol but helps protect against certain cancers. In addition to pumpkin seeds, many other nuts and seeds have the phytosterol compound including pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, English walnuts and Brazil nuts.
Making Pumpkin Seeds
Although you can buy pumpkin seeds already dried and seasoned, baking your own seeds is a less expensive and much more fun.
▪ Scoop out the seed from inside the pumpkin
▪ Using a paper towel, lightly pat the seeds and remove any pulp
▪ Spread seeds evenly on a paper bag and dry them overnight
▪ Preheat the oven to 160 – 170 degrees F
▪ Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet
▪ Bake for 15 to 20 minutes
You can add seasoning like garlic powder, onion powder or salt and pepper for extra flavor.
By baking at a low temperature, you are more likely to preserve the essential oils and get all the health benefits of your pumpkin seeds. You can add your seeds to your favorite salads, sprinkle in your soup or chili, add to your sautéed veggies or just eat them as is.
The benefits of pumpkins gives fall lovers another reason to cherish the fall season! These versatile benefits of pumpkins make them a fantastic addition to any home. Autumn decorations can now be turned into a nutritional meal, snack, or beverage. Pumpkin is a useful vegetable because a variety of dishes can be made with the entire pumpkin including one of the greatest benefits of pumpkin, pumpkin seed oil!
Pumpkin seed oil is the one of the most nutritional benefits of pumpkin. Pumpkin seed oil is packed with nutrients that are vital for cells to perform. At the Ceres Bistro we use utilize these benefits of pumpkin in our kitchen! You can find pumpkin seed oil in our Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto. If that doesn’t sound appetizing enough, you can enjoy our cinnamon rimmed Pumpkin Martini.
For more information on benefits of pumpkin in our dishes or dining at the Ceres Bistro, feel free to contact us!