It’s pumpkin season and everywhere in North America people are decorating their households with Halloween’s favourite mascot. Pumpkins, fruit of choice (yes, it’s a fruit), are known for their bright orange colour, their unique round shape and are considered as an important emblem of Autumn. More than just that, pumpkins are loaded with all kinds of important vitamins, minerals while being relatively inexpensive especially during this time of the year.
Combined, these elements can do loads of good to your body.
So, all this said, here are a couple of health benefits along with some healthy recipes! Pumpkin based ofcourse!
1) High in antioxidants
Believe it or not, pumpkins are jam packed with all important antioxidant called alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. You see, free radicals are molecules produced by the body’s metabolic process. When excessive, free radicals can transform itself into oxidative stress thus creating inflammation which has been linked to cancer, hearth health, and chronic disease, ultimately damaging your cells. Antioxdants in the other hand, can protect and neutralize these free radicals from damaging our cells.
2) Immunity booster
Pumpkins are known for their high Vitamin A intake, which is linked with a stronger and more efficient immune system. Pumpkins are high in beta-carotene, which gives its bright orange colour. When the body absorbs beta-carotene, it transforms it into vitamin A, which is directly linked to a strong immune system. In contrast, people who are deficient in vitamin A, have weaker immune systems. Even more, pumpkins contain vitamin C which has been shown to increase white blood cell production, help immune cells work more effectively and make wounds heal faster.
3) Healthy Carb for Weight Loss
Contrary to popular thought, not all carbs are considered bad. Pumpkins are thought as a nutrient dense food, meaning that they pack minimum calories while maintaining a high nutrient profile. Matter of fact, for one cup of pumpkin, it’s less than 50 calories. Simply said, for the same amount and less calories, pumpkins are a way better option than potatoes or rice while packing a ton of more nutrients.
4) Can Promote Healthy Skin
Pumpkins contain many essential nutrients and vitamins that can be greatly beneficial for healthy skin. Both vitamin A and C, are shown to protect skin against aging and the ill effects of sunlight. Also, vitamin C is essential for your body to produce collagen, a protein shown to maintain strong hair, nails and skin.
5) It Regulates Blood Pressure
Eating pumpkin on the daily can assure that you get your regular intake of potassium, fiber and vitamin C, all of which can support heathy heart function. Some studies show that increasing your potassium intake can lower blood pressure and hypertension. Other studies prove that increasing your potassium can lower your chances of a stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass and preservation of bone mineral density. (Medical News Today, 2018)
6) Can Combat Diabetes
Last but not least, eating pumpkin on a regular can reduce your chances of getting diabetes. As of 2018, some plant compounds found in the pumpkin seeds and pulp are found to help the body absorb the glucose and into the tissues and intestines while also balancing levels of liver glucose.
7) They are inexpensive
During the Autumn and Winter seasons, pumpkins in all of their forms, are found to be relatively inexpensive and downright cheap. In North America, it is easy to find high end organic pumpkins for a few dollars while supporting the local economy.
Here are a couple in Quebec:
1. La Courgerie: 2321 Grand rang Saint-Pierre, Sainte-Élisabeth. 450 752-29502.
2. Le Centre D’Interprétation de la Courge: 839 Chemin Principal, Saint-Joseph-du-Lac. 450 623-48943.
3. La Ferme Quinn : 2495, Boul. Perrot, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot. 514 453-15104.
4. La Citrouille Enchantée : 1380 Rang 10 ET 11, Ste-Clotilde-de-Horton, 819 336-52335.
5. La Ferme Reid : 485 Rte 133, Sabrevois. 450 346-6867
Simple Pumpkin Recipes
1) Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
1 cup pumpkin 1 cup of oats 2 whole eggs 2 egg whites Dash of flour Dash of cinnamon 1 tbs of Vanilla extract Dash of Sea Salt 1 tbs of Coconut oil or Butter
How to do it: (1)Put the pumpkin, whole eggs, egg whites, oats, flour, cinnamon and sea salt in the blender. (2) Once mixed, put one tbs of coconut oil or butter in a skillet. (3) Let it melt on a medium heat. (4) Depending on how big you want the pancakes, pour the mix into the skillet. (5) When you see small holes building up on the surface, flip the pancakes. (6) Add what ever toppings you want and voila.!
2)Vegan Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp coconut oil 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil 1 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tbsp vegan Thai red or yellow curry paste 1 Tbsp peeled minced fresh ginger 1 (3-inch) stalk lemongrass, bruised 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more to thin as needed 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree or 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree 2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk, 1 Tbsp reserved for garnish 2 Tbsp lime juice, plus more for serving 1/3 cup shredded Thai basil or fresh cilantro 3 red Thai chilis, sliced or minced
How to do it: 1. In a large pot, heat coconut oil and sesame oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, curry paste, ginger and lemongrass, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until onions are softened, about 10 minutes. 2. Add broth, pumpkin and tamari or soy sauce. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and discard lemongrass. Stir in coconut milk and lime juice. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth, or transfer to a blender and puree soup in batches. If soup is too thick for your preference, thin with additional broth until desired consistency.
3) Pumpkin Oats
1⁄3 cup of oats 1⁄3 of pumpkin 1⁄3 cup of Almond milk 1⁄3 of banana1 Tbs of Greek Yogurt1 Handfull of dried cranberries 1 Tbs of Pumpkin seeds
1 tea spoon of Sunflower seeds
Splash of Honey
How to do it:
First you put the almond milk and oats in a saucer and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the pumpkin and banana. Stir often, after a few minutes, add the honey to the saucer. Once the consistency is thick enough, turn off the heat and add the yogurt add the toppings and voila!