It’s fall, which means that pumpkin spice everything is all over store shelves, in your favorite Starbucks drinks and wafting through the air everywhere you go. While it’s totally fine to indulge your love now and then, eating actual pumpkin has far more health benefits. You want roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling). Like other types of squash, pumpkin adds an earthy flavor to many meals and you’ll love how it shakes things up at mealtime. Here are the health perks that make eating pumpkin worthwhile.
This goes for canned pumpkin too, but if you’re watching your calories, pumpkin is a great choice. It has a yummy taste, but only sets you back about 30 calories per cup. Keeping your calorie intake under control can help you prevent weight gain as well as helping you maintain a healthy weight. Filling your plate with low-calorie foods, pumpkin included, is easy to do and will make you feel so good.
If you avoid carbs because you don’t want to gain weight, you may be making a big mistake. Your body relies on a certain amount of carbohydrates just to fuel your body for daily tasks. If you cut back too much, you could suffer fatigue and low energy. The trick is choosing healthy carbs, like the ones in vegetables. A cup of pumpkin adds nearly 8 grams of good carbs to your daily quota.
You probably think of potatoes or bananas when you want to get more potassium. Turns out pumpkin is a great choice too, with 394 milligrams per cup. You need adequate amounts of potassium to regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy so skimping is never a good idea. A delicious bit of pumpkin is just what you’ve been looking for.
Vitamin A has several jobs in your body. It helps promote a healthy immune system and keeps your teeth and gums in tip top shape. It’s also an antioxidant, which means vitamin A also fights free radical damage and helps prevent all sorts of health issues, cancer and heart disease included. A cup of pumpkin contains a whopping 9,875 IU of vitamin A, making it a prime choice.
Most of the time, animal foods are your best bet when it comes to B vitamins, but they are also present in many fruits and vegetables, though not in as large amounts. However, pumpkin does contribute to your daily needs. B vitamins help convert the foods you eat into energy that your body can use.
You won’t be able to satisfy your entire day’s needs of vitamin C from eating pumpkin, but it certainly can’t hurt to add some to your meal plan. You get 10 milligrams of the nutrient from a cup of pumpkin. Who knew getting your vitamin C could taste so good?
All of the health benefits of pumpkin certainly make it worth cooking with, but the truth is that it’s really easy to prepare and super versatile, which gives you loads of options. You can use cubed, fresh pumpkin in soups and stews or roast it with a drizzle of honey and a dash of cinnamon for a side dish. Use canned pumpkin in ravioli, pasta sauces or casseroles for color and flavor. Yum!
Have you eaten pumpkin out of a pie? What’s your favorite way to prepare it? Think you’ll give it a try now that you know how healthy it is?
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