Pumpkins: Half Decoration, Half Superfood
It’s hard to think of fall without imagining the colorful foliage, ripe apples, and the all-star autumn symbol—the pumpkin. From jack-o’-lanterns in October to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, pumpkins are ubiquitous in our fall traditions. They adorn our doorsteps and are even spicing up our breads, beers, and lattes. What many people don’t know, though, are the healthful benefits that pumpkins can provide.
Pumpkin is a fantastic source of Vitamin A, with one serving (one cup mashed) providing 245% of your daily value and 19% of your daily Vitamin C. Vitamin A is a bone strength booster that will fortify your teeth and Vitamin C strengthens connective tissues like your gums, providing an effective one-two punch for your oral health.
The benefits of eating pumpkins don’t stop there. Just a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds will get you almost half the daily value of magnesium, which benefits your blood pressure, aids in proper bone and tooth formation, and assists in a host of other physiological functions. An ounce of seeds will provide you with 2mg of zinc, which helps with your mood, sleep, immunity, eye and skin health, and more. Americans are generally deficient in both of these minerals, but eating pumpkin seeds will help get you back on track!
Pumpkin puree and pumpkin seeds are rich in plant-based omega-3 fats, antioxidants, fiber, iron, and calcium. It can be very easy to work pumpkin into your diet, especially in the fall when they’re in high stock. To get the most out of pumpkin seeds, they should be eaten raw (and preferably sprouted). For an idea on how to utilize pumpkin puree, check out this super healthy Pumpkin Pie Parfait recipe.