The brighter orange the pumpkin, the more carotenoids it contains!
Carotenoids are actually pigments, meaning they give color to veggies (and other living things). They’re rich in antioxidants, which is why you may hear your doctor or nutritionist talking about carotenoids.
If you’re heard that eating too many carrots can cause you to turn temporarily orange, that’s because of the carotenoid content. (Side note: this would probably take a lot of carrots, or drinking a jug of carrot juice in a short time period, for most people!)
As with so many phytonutrients, it’s generally best to consume a variety of veggies so that your body benefits from lots of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.
So enjoy the Fall bounty of pumpkins and other colorful squashes, and know you’re supporting your body’s antioxidant status!
Here’s a simple recipe for roasted pumpkin (or acorn squash, etc.):
- Peel and chop pumpkin into 1-inch pieces (try to make similarly-sized pieces so it all cooks well). Add to a large casserole dish or roasting pan. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. You can add seasonings/spices now, or later (helpful when you have some picky eaters). Roast in a pre-heated oven at 425F for 30-35 minutes, gently stirring after 20. Enjoy! Great as a side dish, in a salad, pureed into a soup, and so on.
- Bonus: roast the pumpkin seeds (these contain iron, zinc, and more)! Rinse them off, pat them dry (the drier, the better). Roast at 300F on parchment paper for 20-30 minutes, checking and stirring frequently to avoid burning.
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