Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not So Spooky: Pumpkins Pack a Healthy Punch

Although the little ones are incredibly cute and the cool, carved ones make for great competition and decorations, ultimately, pumpkins are just veggies - squash to be exact - and they're super healthy and delicious to cap things!

Just as you would enjoy butternut, acorn, spaghetti or turnip squash, you could enjoy good old pumpkins. You can roast them, make soup with them or mash them, even make pumpkin spice bread or cake with them - whatever you like, the possibilities are endless. Even the canned, pureed stuff is super simple and versatile in a pinch. Plus, what's better than the warm, fragrant spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves on a cool fall or winter's day? How about combining them with piping hot pumpkin! Now, that's what I call awesome.

There are plenty of great reasons to enjoy eating pumpkins. Not only are they packed full of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and some B's, they also contain plenty of potassium and heart-healthy fibre. Now, if squash isn't totally your think or you were just planning on carving that pumpkin and tossing the rest away, at least hang on to the seeds.

Pumpkin seeds are one of the healthiest (and tastiest) seeds out there. Most, if not all seeds are great for your health, in that they're plentiful in minerals like zinc and magnesium, plus they contain muscle-building and immune system-boosting protein. Pumpkin seeds also contain vitamin K which is important for healthy blood clotting with some iron, copper, calcium and manganese too. All you need is an ounce per day which will provide you with about 125 calories and 5g of heart-healthy fats. For a double whammy, try roasting them up and sprinkling them on top of your roasted pumpkin or soup! That's a healthy trick and a treat all in one!