Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin seeds over salad, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin sauce and of course, the notorious pumpkin spice latte. This is but a tiny list of the pumpkin-themed items that make their way into our lives in the Fall season.
The tradition of using seasonal produce is as old as humankind, and it’s only recently that we as humans have gotten away from seasonal eating – however, the pumpkin craze appears to be solidly engrained in our culture, in part because of its transcendence from solely food to decorations, Halloween carvings, pick-your-own farms and Fall festivals. It’s quite brilliant. It’s also pretty darn nutritious, in addition to being delicious and fun.
Pumpkin is full of antioxidant goodness and contains Vitamins A, C, E and several B Vitamins. It also has important minerals like folate, iron and potassium. Its orange color owes to its carotenoid content, which are a type of antioxidants that help to reduce stress and oxidative damage in your body along with supporting the health of your tissues and vision. Pumpkin is an anti-inflammatory and can be used topically as well as internally. It can be quite soothing for the digestive tract, and can be added to your dog’s food if they have an upset tummy. Pumpkin seeds themselves are a great snack and contain antimicrobial action.
Below are just a few ways to enjoy the benefits of pumpkin this Fall.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Perfect for whenever you’re using a pumpkin, whether you’re carving it up or cutting it to cook. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet by covering it in parchment paper. Scoop the seeds out and onto a cutting board, wax paper or big plate. Separate the seeds from the strands of pumpkin goo, putting the seeds in a medium bowl. Once you have all the seeds in the bowl, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle a little salt, then mix it together. Add any other spices you’d
like here too. Spread out the seeds on the prepped sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir and spread, then bake for another 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not crisping too much for your liking. Let cool before munching, and keep in a sealed container.
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Combine 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1 frozen banana (if it’s not frozen, throw in a few ice cubes), 1/2 cup yogurt (dairy or non-dairy), 1/2 almond milk, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (you could also combine cinnamon and nutmeg for this), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and a little salt. Blend together til smooth, then enjoy!
Pumpkin Facial Mask
Combine 2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin and almost a teaspoon raw honey. (Make a larger batch to share or save for later.) Blend together if mixing by hand is challenging. Wash and dry your face as usual. Apply the mask with your fingers, spreading evenly and avoiding the eye area. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm-cool water. Ahh feel the cleanse.
The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.