Pumpkin Muffins

There are many delicious varieties of healthy muffins one can enjoy, such as blueberry, poppy seed, banana nut and pumpkin muffins.  The advantage of the pumpkin is that they are an excellent source of that all-important antioxidant beta-carotene. Research shows that people who eat a diet rich in beta-carotene are less likely to develop certain cancers than those who fail to include beta-carotene-rich foods in their diet.

The basic recipe is quite simple and anyone could try one of many different recipes which can be found online or in recipe books.  Though most commonly enjoyed during breakfast, pumpkin muffins are great to have during any time of day and can be part of a meal or just a snack.

Benefits

The main benefit of a pumpkin muffin is because the pumpkin is such a powerhouse health food. Here are a few of the pumpkin’s benefits:

  1. The main benefit of a pumpkin muffin is because the pumpkin is such a powerhouse health food.
  2. A storehouse of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.
  3. An excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as cryptoxanthin, α and ß carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenes convert into vitamin A inside the body.
  4. A good source of Zea-xanthin, a natural anti-oxidant which helps the macula lutea in reitina of the eyes.

Pumpkins, belonging to the squash family, have an understated taste that can compliment salty or sweet food, and for this reason they add a warm, fragrant flavor to a muffin.

How you can make them healthier

Pumpkin muffins, while delicious, are not meant to be a health food.  Though they may contain certain desirable ingredients like pumpkin, nuts and wheat among other things, a proper pumpkin muffin recipe is usually also loaded with fattening ingredients like butter and sugar.  If one wants to modify the recipe, one can replacing key ingredients such as processed white sugar with healthier sweeteners, such as Agave syrup. Because Agave is sweeter than sugar, you need less of it. Substitute 2/3 cup agave nectar per 1 cup sugar. Another healthy tip is to use canola oil instead of butter. Again – you don’t need as much, so when baking, you should use 10 tbsp. of canola oil in place of each cup of butter.

Another great way to help moderate the amount one consumes is to use smaller baking pans to bake them in.  In many cafes across the country, the size of muffins in general has grown enormously.  Do not be fooled, these monster muffins are not single serving sizes and are only so big so that people feel they are getting great value for their dollar.

Pumpkin muffins are loaded with goodness and they go well as a part of breakfast or a snack. Because they are made with a vegetable that’s packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant beta-carotene, they are a healthy snack that can give you a boost of energy throughout the day. Most pumpkin muffin recipes are made with butter and sugar. For the health conscious, there are a number of ways to make them healthier, including using Agave syrup instead of sugar, canola oil instead of butter or using smaller portions. There really is no limit to who can enjoy them and the recipe can be altered for extra zesty flavor.