Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. As I walk my dogs in Central Park, and watch the leaves change to their beautiful golden brown colors, and feel the crisp fall air against my face, I know fall is here. With fall, I know warm comforting food is in season.
One of my favorite comfort foods during this season is the super food pumpkin. During the fall season, you can also get your Starbucks pumpkin latte from their menu. Over ten years, Starbucks revenue for this favorite drink has earned them twenty-million dollars. Pumpkin is used in beer and coffee. It is a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. I love pumpkin seeds as a snack because they are loaded with dietary fiber, potassium, mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are good for your heart. The seeds are also a good source of protein, minerals and vitamins.
What are the health benefits of eating pumpkin you might ask?
Instead of having mashed potatoes, you can eat a cup of mashed pumpkin which has only 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber. The fiber makes you fuller and keeps your appetite down so you eat less and lose weight.
The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene are all found in pumpkins which help to support your eyes and prevent degenerative damage.
Beta-carotene in pumpkins also helps to lower the risk of prostate cancer, which was restricted to older people and those without a family history of prostate cancer, so eat your pumpkin instead of decorating your home with it. It also helps ward off the development of colon cancer in the body.
Plant foods like pumpkins that are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.
Consuming adequate potassium is also important as decreasing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure ). This is all found in pumpkin.
Pumpkin also helps to keep the skin wrinkle free because of carotenoids in pumpkins. The seeds from the pumpkin are rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that is responsible for helping the body make serotonin, that helps you relax and unwind. The seeds promote better sleep, and improve your mood.
Whenever pumpkin season comes around, instead of carving it and decorating the home for Thanksgiving and Halloween, cook it. You can have it in your soup. I love a good pumpkin soup. Have it in your dessert like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, make a preserve, and also try some pumpkin butter or have a pumpkin smoothie.