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The hidden health benefits of pumpkins

Oh October, the spiciest month of them all. Did you know that pumpkin spice is actually cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves? These are the ingredients that give your pumpkin spice lattes that lovely aroma and taste.  They are staple ingredients in your pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads. But what about the actual pumpkin? Surely they are for more than just carving. Below are 5 surprising facts about pumpkins and 5 ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.

5 facts about pumpkins

  1. Pumpkins are one of the lowest calorie vegetables, one cup of cooked pumpkin is only 49 calories.
  2. Pumpkins are rich with vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin  provides over 100% of your daily need of vitamin A; vitamin A is essential for healthy vision.
  3. Cooked pumpkin seeds are a great dose of daily fiber.
  4. Pumpkins are packed with vitamin C, helping boost the immune system.
  5.  The beta-carotene compound which gives pumpkin their orange color can help in disease prevention.

5 ways to add pumpkin to your diet

  1. Stir pumpkin puree into soup, stew or chili, it won’t change the taste much but will increase the nutrients in your meal.
  2. Stir pumpkin puree into yogurt.
  3. Add pumpkin puree to pancake batter.
  4. Add chopped and roasted pumpkins to  salads.
  5. Try adding pumpkin to a protein shake to boost its nutrients

Also note, there are edible pumpkins for eating and decorative pumpkins for carving.  You may eat either but the pumpkins labeled for eating taste better. Let us know in the comments below how you will add this low calorie, disease preventing, and vitamin rich vegetable (actually it is a fruit) to your diet.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by John Morgan

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