Posted by: Bert Copple | October 29, 2013

Good Gourd Almighty!

happy pumpkinHalloween is the season of superheroes and supervillains, but did you also know that it has its own superfood? I’m talking about good old first name: Jack, last name O’Lantern and the amazing health benefits that he has for your body.

It might be easier to talk about the ways in which eating pumpkin is not good for you – but honestly, we can’t think of any. It seems like there’s nothing this little squash can’t do.

Among its awe-inspiring superpowers:

  • Beta-carotene: This is what makes a pumpkin orange. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A in the body and is excellent for boosting immunity, eye health and helping to prevent coronary heart disease. Beta-carotene is also good for keeping skin looking younger and mounting evidence suggests it may even play a role in preventing cancer.
  • Vitamin K: One-half cup of canned pumpkin supplies about 40 percent of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin K.  This wonder vitamin is thought to reduce the risks of certain kinds of cancer.
  • Fiber: There are three grams of fiber and only 49 calories in a one-cup serving of pumpkin. That means it can help keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time.
  • Vitamin C: A cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams the Institute of Medicine recommends women need daily.

If pumpkin is a superfood, then pumpkin seeds are its equally awesome sidekick.

  • The World Health Organization recommends pumpkin seeds as an excellent source of zinc, which is needed for a healthy immune system.
  • They are rich in tryptophan, which, contrary to popular belief, would have to be consumed in massive doses to cause fatigue. In smaller quantities, it acts as a serotonin-booster and could improve your mood.
  • The phytosterols compounds in pumpkin seeds can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
  • They are full of protein and can reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. They’ve also been found to prevent the formation of kidney stones.

If you’re having trouble finding ways to work more pumpkin into your diet, try snacking on pumpkin seeds or mixing canned pumpkin into chili, pasta and soups. You might also enjoy starting the day with these delicious pumpkin chip muffins:

1 2/3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
2 large eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 stick butter, melted
1 pkg toffee or brickle mini chips

Grease mini-muffin tins and preheat oven to 350°. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix eggs separately, then add to them the melted butter and pumpkin. Whisk well until blended and fold into dry ingredients. Mix until just moist. Stir in mini chips and pour batter into muffin tins. Bake for about 10 minutes.

For more information about the health and well-being of seniors and their caregivers, please call Home Instead Senior Care serving the Detroit metro, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, and Southeast Oakland County at 248-203-2273, visit our website, or Like us on Facebook.


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