It’s safe to say that we’re in the midst of pumpkin season—pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread. There’s no shortage of ways to incorporate pumpkin into your day, which is excellent news for your health!
In addition to being tasty and helping you get into the season, pumpkin has a lot of nutritional benefits. Just one cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin A, plus three grams of fiber. It’s also full of tons of other vitamins.
While we think of it as a fall favorite, you should really be eating pumpkin all year round.
5 Reasons to Eat Pumpkin
Here are five healthy reasons to make pumpkin part of your fall meal planning.
- Aid sports recovery
Roast up some pumpkin seeds and pack them in your gym bag (more on that below). Having a handful or so of pumpkin seeds after a tough workout can help your body recover faster, thanks to hearty amounts of zinc and protein that help with muscle repair.
- Regulate blood pressure
Pumpkin is full of potassium, which has been shown to help regulate blood pressure. Just make sure your favorite pumpkin dish doesn’t have tons of sodium.
- Lose weight
Pumpkin is full of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer. Plus, pumpkin is made up of mostly water, which means that you’ll feel full without packing in tons of calories.
- Improve your eye health
As a kid, you probably heard grown-ups telling you that eating carrots would help your eyesight. Well, the same thing might be true for pumpkins. They contain high amounts of beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A when you eat it. This potent vitamin can keep your eyes healthy as you age.
- Reduce your risk of chronic disease
While there’s, unfortunately, no miracle food that can completely prevent diseases, pumpkin comes pretty darn close. Chronic disease is frequently caused by inflammation. Pumpkin has antioxidant properties that can lower inflammation and prevent damage caused by free radicals, including certain cancers.
Best Ways to Eat Pumpkin
You have a few options for eating pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin is the healthiest because it doesn’t contain any unnatural ingredients. However, while you can technically eat the flesh from any pumpkin, they don’t all taste good. The best pumpkins for eating are sweet and pumpkin pie varieties.
Canned pumpkin is another option. Make sure the only ingredient in the can is “pumpkin.” Avoid pumpkin pie mix, which contains added sugars and syrups.
You can also roast pumpkin seeds after carving a jack-o-lantern for a tasty gluten-free treat. It’s easy!
First, separate the seeds from the flesh. Then, wash the seeds and dry them.
Now, heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. As the oven is heating, drizzle olive oil onto your pumpkin seeds, then add seasonings. You can add simple salt and pepper or get creative! For example, combine garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt for a “pizza” flavor. For a sweet treat, combine organic maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and cinnamon.
Once your seeds are coated in your chosen seasoning, toss them in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn them every five minutes, so they brown evenly.
We hope you’ll take advantage of the season and start incorporating pumpkin into more recipes this year. We’re here for you even on those days when you don’t quite get the nutrition you need. Shop our collection of nutritious products for men, women, and kids!