There’s more to pumpkins than simply being Halloween jack-o’lanterns. They actually have many health benefits too!
Pumpkins are rich in fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer. However, despite being filling, they are also low calorie, with less than 50 calories per serving of canned pumpkin, which by the way is also about 90% water! They also have zero cholesterol or saturated fat and are perfect for a weight reducing, cholesterol-lowering dietary regimen.
The robust orange color of this delicious vegetable is from its rich supply of beta-carotene, which gets converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps the retina absorb and process light. Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that prevent cataracts and slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Beta-carotene is protective against the skin-damaging effects of UV light and also lowers the risk of certain cancers, including prostate and lung cancers.
Pumpkin oil can help fight infections. Its vitamin C content is nearly 20% of the recommended amount, and can boost immunity and ward off illness.
Pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, improve glucose tolerance, and increase the amount of insulin produced by the body, which may ultimately translate into a veritable treatment for diabetes.
It is a good source of B complex vitamins like folate, niacin, and thiamine, and contains plenty of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
The seeds of pumpkins are also healthful and should not be discarded! The seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and monounsaturated fats, which are important for heart health. They are also full of protein, minerals, and vitamins.
This fall season, enjoy pumpkin recipes and feel guilt-free as you reap the health benefits! Try this recipe, which is delicious, but also refined sugar-free, lactose free, gluten free, low carb, low fat, high protein, and high fiber!
Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
½ added egg whites
1tsp vanilla extract
4 packets of Truvia or Stevia
2 tbsp coconut flour
½ tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp double action baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
- In a small bowl, mix the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt
- In the medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract, and Truvia or Stevia. Dump the wet ingredients over the dry ones and whisk together.
- Spray a griddle with cooking spray and heat on medium. When hot, scoop ¼ cup batter and cook until the edges are dry, the centé puffs up slightly, and the surface bubbles. Flip the pancake and cook 1-2min. Repeat for all of the batter (should make about 9 pancakes)
- Serve with maple syrup or your favorite nut butters and garnish with pecans.