Pumpkins are one of the biggest symbols of fall, but aside from Halloween and Thanksgiving we rarely even think about them. Meanwhile, they have plenty of health benefits for you to take advantage of until they’re out of season.
A member of the squash family, pumpkins are round with a deep orange color and ribbed skin. Pretty much every part of it is eaten from the seeds to the pulp to the peel, making it a useful food with limited waste. (And yes, we really do mean the peel! Try pumpkin peel chips by shaving off the peel onto a cookie sheet, baking on the lowest setting for 6-8 hours, and season with sea salt, chili powder, and paprika!)
Pumpkin Health Benefits
Pumpkins are high in fiber, have 30g of protein and contain 100% of your daily vitamin A. They also contain vitamin C, E and B6, riboflavin, potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium and phosphorous among others. Probably the biggest upside is that they have no cholesterol either.
Compounds inside can eliminate LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol from the arteries which helps prevent heart disease. The phytonutrient carotene also prevents heart disease, as well as cancer and degenerating signs of aging like vision loss. The flavonoid zeaxanthin is largely responsible for eye health.
The five key blood parameters when getting tested are urea, cholesterol, blood glucose, lipids and triglycerides. Pumpkins help normalize all of these areas, leading to better heart health and an inverse effect on diabetes and hypertension.
Pumpkin Peel Smoothie
This is a great, simple drink you can make because it only contains two ingredients: raw pumpkin and water. Make sure you get a pumpkin every week to avoid it spoiling and you can use the skin to its full potential.
1/2 cup pumpkin flesh (peeled) and place in a blender with water
Mix until smoothie consistency
Consume 15-20 minutes before breakfast daily
Repeat for a month
Clearly, there is more to pumpkin than just pie and carving. Keep your blood healthy and your taste buds happy at the same time. Try it yourself!