This is the season for pumpkins, winter squash and so many other healthy produce. Pumpkin is considered the “King of Squash.” Pumpkins will add so many health and nutritional benefits to your life. Those big orange balls are so much more than Halloween decorations or just a food we normally seem to only associate with the holidays. We should make them part of our regular diet throughout the year. So you can say “Orange your glad you added pumpkins to your diet?”
You know what, that is a darn shame if we don’t include them in our diet because they are filled with a wealth of health. There are so many ways you can add them to your diet with delicious recipes that just might make you family run to the dinner table. Pumpkins can be eaten whole, mashed, or cut into chunks for a healthy stew. I agree that pumpkins are a little difficult to deal with due to their size and difficulty in cutting, but let me give you some easy tips to help you out.
Tips To Baking And Using Pumpkins:
- To bake a pumpkin, cut it in half or quarters, scoop out the seeds, and place the pieces cut side down in a baking sheet pan. Add a little water to prevent scorching and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 60 minutes. You will know it is done when you can easily pierce it with a knife. You might want to save the pumpkins seeds to dry and use for snacks.
- To speed up cooking time cut into smaller pieces.
- When using pumpkin for a pie, soup, stew you can remove the skin by preparing the pumpkin for baking and bake at 350 degrees in the oven until the flesh is slightly soft. When it has cooled enough to handle, scoop the flesh out. Discard the skin and proceed with your recipe.
- Consider using it canned. An easy and convenient alternative is to buy organic canned pumpkin. I must admit that the lazy side of me doesn’t always want to cut up pumpkins and organic canned pumpkin without any additives are nutritionally equal to fresh.
- You can freeze pumpkin too – bake a whole pumpkin and freeze half of it. Properly frozen pumpkins retains virtually all its goodness and nutrition.
Health Benefits of Pumpkins and Nutritional Value:
- Pumpkins bright orange color is filled with beta-carotene that helps protect against a variety of cancers, including stomach, esophagus. lungs, and colon.
- Pumpkin are loaded with antioxidants that help boost the immune system and lower our risk of disease.
- Filled with vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.
- Low in calorie and if your watching your waistline is a great nutritional food to eat. Its recommended by dieticians for weight control.
- It is heart healthy because it contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.
- It is rich in dietary fiber and phytonutrients.
- It is one of the vegetables in the Cucurbitaceae family which is known for containing some of the highest levels of Vitamin A and is great for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for good visual sight and is believed to help a body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Pumpkin is loaded with a lesser-known source of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect the body by neutralizing harmful oxygen molecules know as free radicals. These are very potent radical scavengers.
- 1/2 cup organic pumpkin purée
- 1/2 very ripe medium-sized banana
- 3/4 cup raw yogurt
- 1 tbsp raw honey or a few drops of organic stevia
- 1/2 tsp organic pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp organic vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons of Organic Hempseed
- 1 cup crushed ice
Place all ingredients in a blender or small food processor and purée until smooth, making sure the ice is completely crushed. Makes two servings
This is a delicious and nutritious smoothie that can be a quick breakfast or for a snack. Give it to the kids they will love it!
Pumpkins are truly one of Nature’s superfoods that many of us don’t take advantage throughout the year. Pumpkins seeds are another superfood they have so much to offer us – so stay tuned to learn more about pumpkins seeds and the wealth of health they provide. Pumpkins are filled with Nature goodness and nutrition. Let’s add them to our diets after all we only have one body and one life to live. Let’s live it with good health and to the fulness!
Other Sources: The Doctors Book of Food Remedies Author: Selene Yeager and the Editors of PREVENTION Health Books