Yes….native americans gave us, non-native Americans, this beautiful orange vegetable, rich in antioxidants, cancer fighting, cholesterol lowering, ulcer healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging properties,, and what do we do?…….we carve faces in them once a year.
Pumpkins belong to the gourd family and are in season in the fall (duh). They are extremely nutritious, being very high in beta carotene; a vitamin that gets converted to Vitamin A that helps the body slow down aging (think Retin-A all you crows feet gals) 100 grams (about 1 cup) of pumpkin flesh contains 246% of the RDA for Vitamin A!
A diet high in beta carotene is also linked with lowering your risk of gastric, lung, breast, and colorectal cancers.
Pumpkin has it all:
- virtually no fat with 0 cholesterol(all foods without livers do not produce cholesterol)
- low in calories (49 in 1 cup)
- moderately high in fiber
- 1.8 g protein
- bursting with Vitamin A (12231 IU)
- bursting with potassium (564 mg)
- a good amount of Vitamin E (10% daily recommended amount)
- a good amount of folate, riboflavin,iron,magnesium,copper, manganese, zinc
- and it contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (4.9mg of each)
But not, however, if you’re mixing it in your eggs, cream, and sugar to make a pumpkin pie. 😦 (although if you want to justify that second piece, please use this article to do so)
Here is a wonderful looking recipe for pumpkin soup. I have not tried this yet, but when I do I will post pics and videos. I plan to make some healthy changes and check the outcome.
Save the guts!!
Pumpkin seeds have amazing health benefits all on their own. They have been shown to:
- reduce inflammation
- prevent kidney stone (they inhibit calcium oxalate-a common component of stones)
- super high in magnesium (1/2 cup = 92% of your daily allowance–)
- prevention of osteoporosis – they are high in zinc–low zinc levels are linked with high rates of osteoporosis
- contain phytosterols which lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol
- improved bladder function and prostate health (for those of you that have one) a source of study in Europe
- contain L-tryptophan–which has a calming effect, but also can help symptoms of depression
- can eliminate intestinal parasites (yes, tapeworms…as well as pinworms which you can have without symptoms)
After you have carved the pumpkin, take your seeds and wash them. Lay them out on a paper towel or paper bag and let them dry overnight. Spread them on a cookie sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring once or twice, at 250 degrees (baking them longer in a lower temp preserves the nutritional value)
If you want salt (and who doesn’t?) you can toss the seeds with a tiny bit of cold pressed organic olive oil (not much–you don’t want to fry them) and then sprinkle some sea salt before roasting (sea salt has natural beneficial minerals that processed salt doesn’t).
Once roasted, you can eat them–husk and all, or you can shell them. I have read that there is a variety of pumpkin that has a “huskless seed”, but the look on the produce guy’s face at the supermarket told me….maybe not.
Once roasted, I think the seeds taste fine with the husk on…..
You can also buy hulled pumpkin seeds which are sometimes called “Pepitas”.
Use pumpkin seeds in salads, oatmeal, cookie recipes, or just eat as a snack.
You can also eat the flower of the pumpkin as well as the leaves….if you so desire. Pumpkin seed oil is used in many beauty preparations as well as in capsule form.
You can’t say you don’t know Jack now…., can you?