Mighty Ingredient: Pumpkin

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It’s a favorite Halloween decoration but when it comes to pumpkins, many of us let it end at smiling jack-o-lanterns.  Big mistake! Pumpkins are a nutritional powerhouse and there’s no better time than fall to enjoy this mighty food.

 

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Part of the squash family, there are more than fifteen types of pumpkins, all coming in different colors, sizes and tastes. They can be roasted, baked, pureed and work for both savory and sweet dishes. Best of all, they’re good for you. Check out four benefits of this winter fruit.

 

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A BEAUTY FOOD

Pumpkins are an excellent source of  immune boosting Vitamin C, eye-protecting Vitamin A, and skin rejuvenating Vitamin E.  While you can eat pumpkins to receive these beauty benefits, you can also apply topically as a beauty mask. Here’s a great DIY recipe for that from Beautylish.

 

KEEPS THINGS MOVING

One cup of plain pureed pumpkin boasts on average 7 grams of fiber. Besides keeping you regular, fiber suppresses appetite by making you feel full. If you’re trying to cut calories, consider adding this winter fruit to your weekly menu.

 

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NATURAL SLEEP-AID

Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid, tryptophan that helps produce melatonin, a sleep hormone. If you find yourself tossing and turning, consider munching on the seeds as an evening snack. They could help you meet the Sandman sooner.

 

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PREVENTION FRIENDLY FOOD

If you couldn’t tell from their bright orange color, pumpkins are high in beta-carotene. According to the National Institute of Health, foods (not supplements) rich in beta-carotene have been shown to lower the risk of lung and prostrate cancer.

 

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