As we head further into October, you're probably starting to see piles of pumpkins at your local farmers' market or stacked outside your favorite grocery store. Maybe you plan to pick up a few pumpkins to place on your porch or create an arrangement around your garden shed. Yes, they are certainly great for fall decorating. But did you know they're also an incredibly nutritious fruit? This week, I have the skinny on these cheerful fruits and all the benefits you can enjoy by adding some pumpkin to your plate.
The Health Benefits of Pumpkins
Boost Your Immune System
Vitamins A, C, and E are just a few of the nutrients in pumpkin. These vitamins along with iron and folate (also in pumpkin) help to build up your immune system, making you less vulnerable to illness. Having a strong immune system also helps wounds to heal more quickly.
Pumpkins contain antioxidants including beta-carotene and alpha-carotene that can kill free radicals that harm your cells. Having too many free radicals can put you at risk of cancer, heart disease, or chronic illness.
Strengthen Your Eyesight
Eating pumpkin provides you with vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These are all nutrients that strengthen your eyesight and lessen your risk of macular degeneration that can occur as a person ages.
Help Your Heart
Pumpkin contains nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, and potassium that help to keep a heart in healthy condition. Consuming potassium can lower blood pressure, and the fiber in pumpkin can decrease the level of bad cholesterol.
Look Good, Feel Good
As long as you're eating pumpkin for your health, consider putting some aside to help keep your skin and hair in good condition as well.
Dry skin kind of goes hand in hand with the fall season, don't you think? Luckily, there's a pumpkin cure for dry skin. First, combine two tablespoons of cooked pumpkin with a half-teaspoon of honey, a quarter-teaspoon of milk, and a quarter-teaspoon of heavy whipping cream. Apply this pumpkin mixture to your face and leave it on for about ten minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. The nutrients in the pumpkin add moisture to your skin. But remember to avoid answering the doorbell with your pumpkin mask in place!
Does your hair feel like straw these days? If so, pumpkin can help. Combine two cups of cooked pumpkin in a bowl with one tablespoon of coconut oil, one tablespoon of honey, and one tablespoon of plain yogurt. Spread this mixture on your washed hair while it's still damp. Put on a shower cap so the mixture can set for about 15 minutes. Rinse off the pumpkin conditioner and enjoy the shine! Even if your hair is still a bit dry, it will definitely have a beautiful fragrance to it.
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes to Try
Pumpkin muffins are an excellent treat to make because they can be a side dish with any meal or a snack in between. The recipe has oats, vanilla, ginger, honey, and other ingredients in it to make these muffins all the more delicious.
Rosemary Parmesan Pumpkin Seeds
Try a fragrant twist on an old favorite by preparing a cookie sheet full of rosemary Parmesan pumpkin seeds. You can sprinkle them over your soup or salad or even put them into your favorite sandwich.
If you're going to have soup when the weather gets cold, why not make it pumpkin soup to celebrate the season? This recipe has a short list of simple ingredients so you can fully enjoy the taste of the pumpkin.
I hope you have some fun trying pumpkin recipes this fall. Thanks for reading. - Alan