It’s pumpkin season and we're so very excited about it! Not just great as Halloween jack-o lanterns and pies, the pumpkin has many nutritional and health benefits that are amazing – and it’s delicious too. So why should you add this amazing fruit to your diet? Read on to find out.
Immune System Booster
Packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, the pumpkin is a great addition to any diet to help keep your immune system healthy. Say goodbye to viruses and infections as pumpkin is known for warding off illnesses, especially the common cold and flu. Based on research done by the National Cancer Institute, pumpkin also has the antioxidant beta-carotene that helps with prevention of cancer.
It's no miracle fruit that can make you lose weight just by consuming it, however it is rich in fibre thus keeping you full for longer. It will help you eat less, and therefore by default lose weight more easily. The potassium from pumpkin also helps keep your body balanced and muscles working after a long workout.
As previously mentioned, the pumpkin has a whole lot of beta-carotene (which gives it its gorgeous colour) that is converted into vitamin A when consumed. This vitamin helps with eye sight and keeps your eyes protected too, due to it helping the retina to absorb and process light.
Beta-carotene plays a key role when it comes to skin care too. It helps with sun protection and reducing wrinkles. And you can reap the benefits without consuming it too - the pulp of the pumpkin makes a fantastic beauty mask! All you need to do is puree the pumpkin, add some honey and milk then apply directly to the skin. Wash it off after fifteen minutes or so, and the difference can be seen almost immediately.
Improves Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds are not only great to snack on but they also help with prostate health as it contains zinc, protein and magnesium. It has the ability to shrink enlarged prostates as it also has high levels of phytosterols. Pumpkin seeds can also lower the risk of bladder stones, and is a mood booster that helps combat depression.
Now that you know why you should incorporate pumpkin into your diet, here are a few recipes to start you off!
Easy Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkins can be cooked in a variety of ways; from making it into soup, to baking it and even stir frying it with other vegetables, the best way however is to steam it. Steaming the fruit helps retain as much of its natural goodness and nutrients as possible. Also keep in mind that there are many types of pumpkins in the market in terms of how it's packaged.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Who doesn't like pumpkin pie? Now you can make an easy version you can drink! Use pureed pumpkin and add some banana for sweetness, then add almond milk (type of milk is optional) then add a dash of cinnamon to give it a little kick. Blend together until it reaches the consistency you desire. To give it more of a pumpkin pie feel, add a crunch to the smoothie with some crushed graham cracker on top.
There are many versions of this combination, but we love this the best. Mix oats and milk (again of your choice) into a heat-resistant bowl, and cook it on high for one or two minutes. Check consistency and add on either or both ingredients if required. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice (optional) and cinnamon. Stir until it’s mixed well and serve while hot or refrigerate if you want it chilled. You can add some toasted pumpkin seeds to top it off.