One Food, Five Ways
It’s that time of year again — when every coffee shop resurrects their super-duper pumpkin spiced latte concoction and pumpkin pie is positioned front and center in the bakery aisle. But pumpkin is more than a seasonal treat: With only 50 calories per cup
Pumpkin is more than a seasonal treat. With a host of significant health benefits, it should appear on your plate all year. Here are five ways to enjoy this fall favorite.
1. AS A RECOVERY AGENT Ounce per ounce, pumpkin has more potassium than bananas, helping you rebound from a hard workout by restoring electrolyte balance and reducing blood pressure. Some studies even link pumpkin to preservation of muscle mass and improved bone density. Add ½ cup of pumpkin to your postworkout smoothie to reap the recovery rewards. 2. AS A VISION-BOOSTING BREAKFAST According to the National Institutes of Health, 1 cup of pumpkin contains 200 percent of your daily need for vitamin A, helping protect the surface of your eye, promoting healthy vision and slowing the decline of retinal function in those with certain degenerative eye diseases. Pumpkin also contains a ton of beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body, and which may quell inflammation and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Try our Pumpkin Chia Pudding recipe for a peeperimproving breakfast. 3. AS A HEALTHY RECIPE SWAP Pumpkin puree is a super swap for oil or butter when baking, reducing calories and adding an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping for oil, and trade ¾ cup of pumpkin for every 1 cup of butter. 4. AS A FIBER-FULL SNACK Pumpkin seeds contain 1.7 grams of fiber per ounce, helping lower the risk of coronary heart disease while boosting meal satiety and promoting healthy digestion. Buy raw, hulled seeds at the store, or save your jack-o’lantern guts and roast your own: Wash the seeds, then bring to a boil in a sauce pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then drain seeds and pat dry. Toss with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt, then roast at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, tossing once. 5. AS A SOOTHING SOUP Move over turkey: Pumpkin also contains tryptophan, the amino acid that helps produce serotonin, a brain chemical that plays a large role in mood regulation, relaxation and sleep quality.