It seems we have pumpkin everything these days; pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin spice.
I don’t know about you, but when someone says fall I immediately think Pumpkin! It seems we have pumpkin everything these days; pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin candles, pumpkin spice toothpaste! It’s everywhere. And while most pumpkin treats are full of sugar, carbs, and calories, the pumpkin is actually a very nutrient rich vegetable that would make a great addition to any healthy lifestyle.
The pumpkin is a member of the squash family and is in season during the fall and winter months. (Hence it’s abundance on everyone’s porch and Thanksgiving Day menus.) 1 cup of pumpkin contains 30 calories, 8g of carbohydrates, and 3.2g of sugar. It also provides 11% of your daily potassium needs, 17% of your vitamin C, and 197% of your daily need for vitamin A, as well as calcium, iron, folate, fiber, vitamin B-6, and magnesium. An equally-as-important part of the pumpkin is what is doesn’t contain, and that’s saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
So what do all of these nutrients mean to you? Lots of health benefits! According to the National Health Institute, pumpkins are good for us for the following reasons:
High levels of vitamin A and carotenoids help sharpen vision and protect the eyes
Carotenoids also help to keep skin wrinkle free
Fiber content helps to increase satiety and aid in weight loss
The seeds contain phytosterols which have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol
Pumpkins contain the antioxidant Beta-carotene which plays a role in cancer prevention
As winter fades to spring and the obsession with pumpkin spice everything gives way to New Year’s resolutions and getting ready for the beach, remember that the pumpkin is much more than a good coffee flavor and scent for your bathroom. Eating pumpkin can help you on your way to a fit and healthy lifestyle throughout the year.
Maisey Covington, RN
Duncan Regional Hospital
Digital Image. When to Plant Pumpkins. HGTV. http://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/vegetables/when-to-plant-pumpkins
Digital Image. The Ultimate Guide to Every Pumpkin Spice Flavored Food. People. 2014. http://greatideas.people.com/2014/09/16/pumpkin-spice-flavor-food-list/
Digital Image. The Comprehensive Guide to Pumpkin Spice Flavored Foods. People Food. 2016. http://people.com/food/pumpkin-spice-food-guide/krispy-kreme-pumpkin-spice-glazed-doughnut
Digital Image. Flavor of North Carolina: Fall Harvest Fest. 2017 http://www.whatsonwilmington.com/event.php?id=29161