Pumpkin… More than a Delicious Bite


By Stephenie Cox –

Pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin beer . . . the options are endless, and endlessly mouthwatering. It’s finally pumpkin season, and the reasons to celebrate are many.

Fall’s signature squash is versatile enough to fit into any cook’s menu. As if the abundance of delicious recipes one can make with pumpkin were not enough, they also pack some powerful healthy perks like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check. As long as you take it easy on the pie, pumpkin can be the super food to crave.

Pumpkins Keep Eyesight Sharp

The best way to safely get vitamin A in your diet is eating foods rich in carotenoids. A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A.

Pumpkins Aid Weight Loss

Pumpkin is a great source of fiber. With three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. A fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less and thereby, shed pounds.

Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart

Pumpkin seeds are naturally rich in plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

Pumpkins Protect The Skin

The same free-radical, neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin that may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free, Health magazine reported.

Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood

Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan. A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds may help your outlook stay bright.

Pumpkins Can Help After A Hard Workout

A little extra Potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best. A cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient Potassium, with 564 milligrams to a bananas 422.

Pumpkins May Reduce Cancer Risk

Like their orange comrades the sweet potato, the carrot and the butternut squash, pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System

When you feel a cold coming on, Vitamin C may be helpful in warding off that illness. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams of the essential nutrient.


 

Gingered Pumpkin Soup

Gingered Pumpkin Soup

Gingered Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

• 1 Tbsp light butter

• 2 – 15 oz cans of pumpkin

• 2 – 14 oz cans of low sodium chicken broth

• 1/2 cup fat-free milk

• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

• 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and  brown sugar, as garnish

Instructions:

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, and stir in pumpkin, chicken broth, milk, maple syrup and ginger.

2. Bring pumpkin mixture just to a boil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Garnish with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Enjoy!