With all the craze over pumpkin spice or the tasty pumpkin spice latte, you may think about Fall’s most popular squash as just a vessel for an intoxicating blend of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg.
Not only are pumpkins a low-calorie, delicious treat, they’re also a highly nutritious food. With vitamins A, B, C, iron, calcium, potassium, and fiber, pumpkin beats much-touted healthy foods, including kale (vitamin A), bananas (potassium) and quinoa (fiber).
It’s not hard to carve out some love for pumpkins as a healthy addition to your diet, any time of the year. Here are six reasons why we think you should love pumpkin all year long:
1. Pumpkin may help with digestion
2. Your ❤️ loves pumpkin
When was the last time you thought about your heart, especially if it’s healthy or not? Maybe you thought of it when it was a little too difficult to get up that third flight of stairs, and you were out of breath, and your heart was racing.
Well, thanks to raw pumpkin, you’ll get loads of fiber and potassium that may help lower your cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.
3. It can make your skin and hair look fantastic
No matter how much money you spend on products to even your skin tone or make your hair shiny, sometimes, it’s just our diets that are holding us back. Much like carrots, pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene — a precursor to vitamin A. And vitamin A is essential for healthy, glowing skin and shiny, thick hair. The antioxidants in pumpkins may also help protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays and associated damage.
4. Pumpkin may help support your immune system
During the holidays or even the springtime, our immune system can always use a boost. Succumbing to colds and flu is a sure way to ruin your week. But pumpkin has loads of vitamins C and E, minerals — including iron and folate — and plenty of free-radical fighting antioxidants that may help protect your body’s cells and repair any damage to them. Additionally, studies show that diets rich in antioxidants and potassium may offer significant health benefits.
5. It’s great for your vision
According to the American Optometric Association, it’s easy to see why eye doctors recommend pumpkin as a smart addition to your diet. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, fiber, lutein, and zeaxanthin, the carotenoid is linked in numerous studies to eye health and a reduced risk of ocular-related diseases, like macular degeneration and cataracts.
6. It can help support weight-loss goals
Raise your hand if you’ve eaten too much during Thanksgiving and, let’s be honest, days after with leftovers. Or maybe while binging Netflix (I’m looking at you Great British Baking Show). You might have felt sluggish or bloated afterward, regretting each additional fork or handful that you knew you didn’t need.
Pumpkin, including red kuri squash (or sometimes called the orange Hokkaido pumpkin/squash), is much lower in calories (about 80 calories per cup) than other sources of carbohydrates and consists mainly of water (about 92%). Factor in all the fiber, and you’ve got a filling option that’s loaded with nutrients. This makes pumpkin a perfect option for a healthy, diet-conscious meal or snack. So roast some pumpkin or squash and let Prue and Paul eat the dozen cakes, not you.
Pumpkins are so much more than a decorative harbinger of autumn — they are a delicious snack with a ton of benefits. For more fresh ideas on how to live a wholesome, balanced life, be sure to get our regular newsletters, which are full of great recipes, articles, and news. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for even more tips for living the the ZENB Life.