From pumpkin-spiced lattes to pumpkins pies and everything in between, you can’t turn a corner without seeing this popular seasonal squash.
As a superfood though, the big orange globes are overlooked for most of the year while greens like kale and spinach get all the attention. Well, no more: Check out the humble pumpkin's impressive nutritional pedigree below.
5 Reasons You Should Eat More Pumpkin
1. Pumpkin is Chockfull of Vitamin A and Antioxidants
Pumpkins pack a vitamin-rich power punch, with a 100 gram serving containing 246% of your recommended daily vitamin A intake—full of antioxidants in the form of beta carotene. The American Heart Association recommends eating a diet high in antioxidants, and pumpkin is a great way to get them.
Also on Z Living: RECIPE: Roasted Pumpkin Soup From 'Flip My Food'
2. For Calorie-Counters, Pumpkin is a Low-Cal Food
Pumpkin seems so hearty that you'd likely never consider it “diet food." But nutritionists often recommend pumpkin for people looking to lose weight, with 100 grams of pumpkin containing just 26 calories
and no saturated fats or cholesterol. Compare that to sweet potato, which is considered low-calorie and packs 90 calories
per 100 grams.
Also on Z Living: RECIPE: A Post-Workout Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl
3. A Little Pumpkin Can Keep Your Skin Looking Fresh
That orange pumpkin hue comes from carotenoids. And according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University
, carotenoids deactivate free radicals that could otherwise damage cells — including wrinkle-causing cells that lead to premature aging. To keep your skin looking fresh, stay away from UV rays that can cause damage...and load up on pumpkin.
4. Pumpkins are Full of Fiber & Flavor
No need to gorge on bran to get your daily fiber dose. Pumpkins contain a surprising amount of fiber along with their flavor. A cup of canned pumpkin contains 7.1 grams
of fiber. And not only does fiber keep your bowel movements regular, but the Mayo Clinic has found it has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and helping to regulate your blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating at least 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume every day.
Also on Z Living: RECIPE: A Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
5. Eating Pumpkin is Like Consuming Two Superfoods in One
Eating a single pumpkin is like consuming two superfoods wrapped into one perfect package — because pumpkin seeds are nutritionally beneficial too. The seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals including:
Copper is especially important in maintaining a healthy immune system as it builds white blood cells
and helps to maintain bone health. And the best part about pumpkin seeds is that they're portable and easy to sneak into your diet. Try grinding them up in a smoothie, adding to your salad or simple keep some in your bag for a portable snack you can feel good about.
And by the way...
Beware of canned pumpkin pie filling, often lurking right beside canned puréed pumpkin in the grocery aisle. It's loaded with sugar! Be sure to buy and eat only pure pumpkin every time, even if you’re baking.
WATCH on Z Living: Healthy Gourmet
, where nutritionist Julie Daniluk and chef Ezra Title join forces and battle between taste and nutrition, helping home cooks create nutritious and tasty meals that can feed a crowd. See a sneak peek here
Tell us in the comments: What's your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?