How can pumpkins improve your health?
Not only are pumpkins full of bright color, but they also make for great decorations and delicious food dishes.
They are excellent sources of:
- Vitamin A — essential for eye health
- Fiber — slows digestion
- Vitamin C — helps fight colds
Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids including:
- Beta-carotene and alpha-carotene — These carotenoids can act as antioxidants. Plus, our bodies can convert these carotenoids to vitamin A, which is an important nutrient that helps with immune function and maintaining healthy cells among other roles.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin — These yellow pigmented carotenoids help protect eye health by filtering high-energy ultraviolet rays that can damage our eyes’ lens and retina. They act as antioxidants here and possibly elsewhere in our bodies.
You can even benefit from pumpkin seeds, which contain healthy unsaturated fats and plant sterols that can help lower your blood pressure. Below is a quick recipe that makes for an easy grab-and-go breakfast, packed with fiber, protein, and cancer-fighting polyphenols. By adding whole grains like oats to your diet, you can improve your digestion, maintain your weight and lower your risk for colorectal cancer.
Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Stir together all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add to a mason jar with a fitted lid. Refrigerate and store overnight. Enjoy!