by Lisa Golebieski
Autumn is upon us….we can look forward to cooler weather, beautiful foliage, Halloween and best of all pumpkin picking!
Pumpkin is one of the most overlooked vegetables. It’s ridiculously low in calories (only 49 calories per cup of mashed pumpkin) while very high in potassium (564 mg, which is about 33 percent more than a medium banana). It’s also high in vitamin A and beta-carotene which is t…ypically found in all orange foods.
The balance between potassium and sodium is critical to our overall health. Potassium works with sodium to maintain the body’s water balance and thus protects against hypertension. High dietary potassium intake significantly lowers blood pressure and decreases the risk of stroke.
Increased consumption of high-potassium fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin may help preserve calcium in the bones…right where it belongs.
Besides potassium, the beta carotene (one cup of mashed pumpkin contains 5,000 mcgs), alpha-carotene (853 mcgs per cup) and beta-cryptoxanthin (3,500 mcgs per cup) helps reduce the risk of lung and colon cancer. There is also evidence of reducing rheumatoid arthritis.
Your eyes will thank you because pumpkin has more than 2,400 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are fast becoming the star nutrients in eye health and vision protection programs.
Lastly, Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A (12,000 IUs per cup). There is also a little bit of iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus as an added benefit. In addition, a cup of pumpkin contains colon healthy fiber…more than 2 ½ grams.
Need ideas on how to incorporate pumpkin into your diet? Here are five ways to enjoy it!
1. Roast pumpkin slices with cinnamon, top with whipped cream and chopped pecans.
2. Blend low-fat milk or yogurt with canned pumpkin, cinnamon, ice and pure maple syrup to taste.
3. Saute chopped pumpkin and broccoli florets with soy sauce. Serve over brown rice and garnish with pumpkin seeds.
4. Try pumpkin ravioli…check the gourmet department of your local supermarket.
5. Process roasted pumpkin with chicken stock, salt and pepper. Serve under chicken or veggies as a tasty alternative to rice or pasta.
6. Bonus: Pumpkin pie! Enjoy a slice while watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”….a classic favorite for everyone of all ages!
Lisa Golebieski, MS Holistic Nutrition Consultant
- Nutritional Counseling and Coaching
- Nutrition Seminars
- Holistic Diet Plans
- Supermarket Smart Savvy Tours