Thursday, October 28, 2010

Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin

It's kind of weird when you stop looking at pumpkins as 'those things we put on our porches/use as decorations for fall and Halloween' and start thinking 'mmm...that would taste so good in my oatmeal, as a side with dinner or in my salad'. Don't worry though, if you are one of the latter, you're not alone, and your health will benefit greatly for it. If you're not there yet - read on and join the club.

Pumpkins and squashes are all part of the same family - if you love butternut squash or zucchini, plain old pumpkin tastes like a hybrid of the two. If you buy the canned pureed kind, there is no added sugar, it's crazy low in calories (only 35 calories for 1/2 a cup) and fat free, yet loaded with fibre and vitamins A, C, E (all antioxidants), magnesium, potassium and even iron. This means that adding a little pumpkin to your meals will help you fill up and save on calories. Pumpkins even contain alpha hydroxy acids, powerful fruit acids that help lift away old skin cells to reveal a radiant, more luminous complexion! You can mix the puree into virtually anything without noticing much difference, in fact, you may just find that things taste better with a little pumpkin mixed in!

Even the seeds of a pumpkin are a force to be reckoned with. They're chewy and nutty, and noshing on an ounce of pumpkin seeds each day can help balance your mood, boost heart health, reduce inflammation as they are choc full of manganese, magnesium, tryptophan, phosphorous, iron, vitamin K, zinc and a little protein.

The health benefits of pumpkins and their seeds are seemingly endless, so it's best you stop avoiding this health powerhouse and start including it with your meals! How about some pumpkin pie oatmeal made with cinnamon, pumpkin puree, raisins and oats?