If you’re like me, this time of year you have nothing but pumpkins on the brain. I’ve already been to the pumpkin patch to pick out my pumpkins, I simply can’t get enough of that Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks (I order it “Skinny”, though, and have it as the occasional treat, as it clocks in at 200 calories and 37 grams of sugar for a tall), and I’ve already made enough pumpkin smoothies to keep Libby in booming business. Good thing, because it turns out that pumpkin isn’t just tasty, it packs quite the nutritional punch.
Pumpkins come two ways: fresh or canned. While removing the flesh from your own pumpkin (perfect to do when carving Jack-o-lanterns) is obviously fresher, it can also be quite the chore. So, when it comes to baking and eating pumpkin regularly, canned is your more convenient option, and thankfully, canned pumpkin is just as nutritious as fresh.
And, boy, is pumpkin good for you! Pumpkins are high in potassium, magnesium, panthothenic acid, beta carotene and other antioxidants with properties that can help improve immune function and reduce the risk for chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Pumpkins are also high in fiber, and one cup of fresh pumpkin has just 50 calories, while one cup of canned has 80 calories.
Don’t forget about the other parts of the pumpkin! The seeds contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and are an excellent plant-based source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seed oil is also touted by many for its health properties, as it includes 60 to 90 percent unsaturated fats and is high in linoleic acid.
With a resume like that, why limit your pumpkin consumption just to the fall months? It’s healthy and tasty enough to eat year round!
Try these great pumpkin recipes!