With autumn in full swing the infamous round orange mascot of the season is everywhere: coffees, pies, lotions, pasta and even beer. Pumpkins aren’t just a yummy bakery sweet – they offer some great health benefits too. Here’s a look at what a patch of pumpkins can provide for your health:
- Vision: Just one cup of mashed pumpkin contains over 200 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin A. Truck drivers can’t really get enough of this powerful vitamin as it boosts vision particularly in dim light.
- Weight loss and control: Pumpkin packs three grams of fiber in a one-cup serving and with less than 50 calories a serving, is a great way to feel fuller, longer. Fiber is often a great tool when trying to lose weight because fiber rich diet helps you eat less. 1,000,000 pound challenge anyone?
- Hearth health: Pumpkin seeds, like other nuts and seeds, contain phytosterols, a plant-based chemical proven to reduce bad cholesterol.
- Cancer guard: Orange is a mighty color in the vegetable and fruit kingdom as it contains beta-carotene, an antioxidant that may play a role in preventing some types of cancer. Furthermore, plant sterols in pumpkins have even been linked to fighting off certain cancers. Orange you glad you ordered that pumpkin latte (with skim milk of course).
- Mood: Pumpkin seeds are at it again with amino rich tryptophan (yes, the ‘sleepy’ culprit in turkey which is, by the way, more a myth than most people think). Actually, tryptophan is an important component in the production of the mood modifying chemical serotonin. Studies have shown that many people see drops in their serotonin levels in the winter months, which can play a role in seasonal depression disorders. Get ahead of winter and get happy now with some lightly roasted pumpkin seeds!
- Immunity: As the cold and flu season closes in on us, it’s good to have some defense in your back pocket (or your truck cab). One cup of cooked pumpkin has 11 milligrams of vitamin C and even with the debate still up in the air about the vitamin’s effectiveness in fighting illness it can’t hurt to get the extra dose.
For some great recipes with pumpkins, check out the Steering Your Health Pinterest boards!