Fall in Love with Pumpkin

Pumpkin 101

It’s that time again – It’s pumpkin season! From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin pie, pumpkin is everywhere this time of year. Read on for more reasons to include pumpkin in your lineup this fall (as if we needed them!)

Pumpkin is a member of the squash family and its cousins include cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash and melons. Pumpkin is technically a fruit since it contains seeds but is often classified as a vegetable due to its low sugar content.

Nutrition

1 cup cooked pumpkin contains 50 calories. It also has a 3 grams of fiber and is low glycemic at 12 grams total carbs.

1 cup of cooked pumpkin contains nearly half of your daily requirement of Vitamin K, 20% of Vitamin C, 16% of potassium, and 8 % of iron. Additionally, it contains rich amounts of beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant and precursor to Vitamin A.

Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which is important for immune, cellular tissue repair and thyroid support.

Benefits

Pumpkin isn’t just a pretty decoration.  Eating pumpkin has it’s many benefits.  Read below to find out all the ways pumpkin can support your overall health.

Heart Health

Consuming fiber rich foods and plant polyphenols high in antioxidants like beta carotene has been shown to protect against heart disease risk. One study found that higher serum beta carotene levels were associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke in men during a thirty-year period. This may be because antioxidants help protect against oxidative damage of cholesterol that may lead to atherosclerosis.

Immune Health

Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Zinc are all nutrients that are important for immune system regulation, white blood cell production and gene expression of immune cells. Vitamin A also plays a role in helping to regulate the integrity of the intestinal lining. In fact, most of your immune system is actually found along the intestinal tract in tissue called gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). Including pumpkin in your diet may help keep your immune system functioning optimally.

Eye Health

Beta carotene helps the retina absorb light and may protect against macular degeneration through its anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming lots of colorful fruits and vegetables and especially those that are yellow, orange and red can help keep your eyes healthy!

Metabolic Health

Antioxidants may protect against metabolic syndrome by protecting cellular function as they scavenge free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the body that cause inflammation and cellular damage. Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of symptoms that include low HDL cholesterol, large waist circumference, elevated triglycerides and high fasting blood sugar. Any three or more of these signs together are linked to higher rates of cardiac disease and diabetes.

How to eat more pumpkin

 We recommend using pumpkin in a whole, unprocessed form to reap the most benefits. The easiest way is to buy organic canned pumpkin or roasted pumpkin seeds. Try to limit or avoid store bought pumpkin flavored baked goods like muffins, pies and cakes as well as pumpkin syrups or candies. They tend to contain little real pumpkin and are filled with refined sugars. Instead, try to make your own pumpkin flavored treats with 100% canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Here are some other great ideas on how to incorporate more pumpkin:

  • Chili
  • Curries and other sauces
  • Roast pumpkin seeds for a crunchy snack
  • Baked goods – muffins, cookies or pancakes
  • Stir into overnight oats or yogurts
  • Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon into coffee grounds for a pumpkin infused coffee that will rival any PSL

Here are some of our favorite pumpkin recipes:

Pumpkin is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner and adds a punch to any meal!  A can of pumpkin goes a long way.  And don’t forget to use up those seeds from carving pumpkins!  We love adding to salads or on top of soups.  They also make a great high fiber snack on its on or added to your favorite trail mix.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Smoothie

Black bean and Pumpkin Enchiladas

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Pumpkin Veggie Chili

Grain Free Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin/Squash Seeds

Happy Fall and Happy Pumpkin Eating!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print
  • All
  • Diabetes Program
  • Exercise
  • Food Sensitivities
  • General Information
  • Gut Health
  • Inflammation
  • Nutrient Spotlight
  • Recipes
  • Uncategorized

Welcome To Our Blog!

My name is Rita and I am a registered dietitian, founder of RED Dietitians! I love food and have a passion for good, wholesome nutrition …

Read More →

Eat Local

Today people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of eating local. Why? Well, for several reasons. One, it is important to support …

Read More →

Understanding GMOs

Being aware of where your food is coming from is quite important these days.  Our food supply has drastically changed over the past several decades.  …

Read More →
  • All
  • Diabetes Program
  • Exercise
  • Food Sensitivities
  • General Information
  • Gut Health
  • Inflammation
  • Nutrient Spotlight
  • Recipes
  • Uncategorized
All
  • All
  • Diabetes Program
  • Exercise
  • Food Sensitivities
  • General Information
  • Gut Health
  • Inflammation
  • Nutrient Spotlight
  • Recipes
  • Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About Stress!

The Truth About Dietary Fat

Top Cancer Fighting Foods

What is Mindful Eating?

Fall in Love with Pumpkin

How to Optimize Thyroid Health

Guide to Healthy Tailgating (at Home)

Let’s Go Nuts!!

9 Ancient Grains to Know

Limiting Your Exposure to Environmental Toxins

Low FODMAP Diet Q & A

Crazy For Coconut

Scroll to Top