It’s that time of year again when the temperatures come down, the leaves start to turn, and pumpkin shows up in everything. Pumpkin coffees, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin M&M’s, pumpkin protein powder, pumpkin pie smoothie, pumpkin cosmetics. You name it—it will most likely have a pumpkin version during fall. What is so great about pumpkins?
Can pumpkins lead to weight loss?
Well, besides adding to the season with that delicious taste and smell we love, pumpkins provide a variety of health benefits as well. Pumpkin is full of fiber which promotes satiety by slowing digestion. A one cup serving of canned pumpkin has about 7 grams of fiber. That’s more than two slices of whole grain bread! Not only is fiber good for weight loss, but it also helps keep you regular and helps to manage cholesterol levels too.
Who knew pumpkins can help prevent a cold?
Pumpkins are full of beta-carotene giving them a brilliant orange color. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, an important vitamin for eye health. Beta-carotene has also been shown to help prevent certain cancers. Pumpkins also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cataracts and possibly slow the development of macular degeneration. Consuming pumpkin can also help boost immunity. The mega-dose of vitamin A coupled with a large amount of vitamin C in pumpkin helps to fight infections, diseases, and may help recover from colds faster.
But wait, there’s more!
Pumpkins are a good source of potassium which can have a positive effect on blood pressure. A serving of pureed pumpkin has more potassium than an average banana.
Increased potassium intake has also been linked to:
- reduced stroke risk
- protection from loss of muscle mass
- preservation of bone density
Just know—pumpkin is an incredibly healthy food rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So load up on the vegetable, not the pie.
RECIPE: Skinny Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Yield: 1 smoothie
¼ c pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
½ c + 2 tbsp 1% milk
1 tsp stevia
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/16 tsp ground nutmeg
1/16 tsp ground ginger
1 ½ c ice cubes
Add everything except the ice to a blender, and pulse until combined. Add the ice, and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
*Notes: Any milk (1%, 2%, whole, almond, rice, etc.) may be used.