Pumpkin isn't just delicious -- it's healthy, too! Read on to learn about the many health benefits of this seasonal squash.
- A vegetable’s rich color is an indication of the many nutrients it contains, and the pumpkin is no exception. Its bright orange hue signifies that the pumpkin is packed with antioxidant-rich carotenoids.
- Pumpkins are a good source of potassium.
- Pumpkins contain vitamin C.
- Every quarter-cup serving of pumpkin puree provides two days’ worth of vitamin A.
- Pumpkin is low in calories, ranging from just 15 calories per half-cup raw to 40 calories per half-cup canned.
- You’ll get the benefit of 10 grams of fiber for every cup of canned pumpkin.
- Pumpkin isn’t just for holiday baking. It can be used in recipes year-round, particularly since the texture of pumpkin puree makes it a good fat substitute in recipes. Swapping pumpkin puree for eggs, butter or oil will slash fat and calories from your favorite recipes. Substitute pumpkin puree for equal amounts of fat, for up to two-thirds of the fat called for in a recipe. Be selective of when to use it, though. Pumpkin as a fat substitute obviously gives products a very distinctive flavor and color, which may be fine for brownies and breads, but not so much what you’re looking for in a chocolate chip cookie.
- Even the seeds of pumpkins have health benefits. Also known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds are high in iron and magnesium, with a one-ounce serving (two tablespoons) providing nine grams of protein – more than that of a large egg. But keep an eye on quantity if you’re mindful of calories, since every two-tablespoon serving has about 146 calories and 12 grams of fat. Use roasted pumpkin seeds just like you would other type of nut (think pine nuts or slivered almonds) to add variety to your favorite recipes. Sprinkle them onto salads, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or hot or cold cereal for a nutrient-rich crunch.
A Note about Pumpkin
Fresh pumpkin pulp tends to be thinner than canned and though this moisture can be reduced by straining the pureed pumpkin, many people choose to use canned pumpkin for a more consistent finished product.
Ready to Enjoy Some Pumpkin?