Pumpkin season means “pumpkin spice” flavours surround us. Unfortunately, many of the pumpkin spice flavoured items, like pumpkin-spiced lattes, muffins, and cakes, tend to be full of sugar and fat. However, you shouldn’t overlook pumpkin completely as this ‘superfood’ can offer many health and weight loss benefits when consumed in its natural form.
Here are just some benefits of pumpkin for you to be aware of:
- Pumpkin supports weight loss as it will help you feel fuller longer, because it’s full of fibre, which slows digestion. To confirm, there are approximately 7 grams of dietary fibre in 1 cup of canned pumpkin.
- Pumpkin is low in calories, which means it is a good snack to consume when you’re on a weight loss journey. For example, Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin, which includes olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and chili powder, contains approximately 108 calories.
- Pumpkin helps boost your vision as it contains double the amount of vitamin A than most fruit (yes, pumpkins are considered fruits, and more specifically they're berries)!
- Pumpkin is also full of potassium, a key supporter and maintainer of heart health. A cup of pumpkin will actually give you around 14 per cent of your daily value (DV) of potassium.
- Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene which supports immune system defenses, helping you stay healthy during the cold season.
- Pumpkin seeds themselves are also a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
Here’s how to prepare pumpkin so you can get the wonderful benefits:
Preparing pumpkin from scratch can be a little time-consuming (here are some tips from The Food Network). However, if you don’t have time to carve up a pumpkin, choose the next best option, canned pumpkin. When selecting your canned pumpkin, be sure you choose the one that only contains one ingredient: pumpkin. Steer clear of canned pumpkin pie mix which is full of additives, like sugars and syrups. Both of these ingredients do not contribute positively to weight loss.
Now that you’ve got it prepped, here are a few ways to consume the benefits of pumpkin:
- Try roasting pumpkin chunks and serve alongside a protein of your choice (better yet, consider making mashed pumpkin instead of mashed potatoes).
- Top your next salad with roasted pumpkin seeds to add a little crunch (here’s how to roast those seeds)
- Test pumpkin puree in a smoothie to really change things up (here is a Herbal Magic recipe to try for a yummy morning pumpkin smoothie)
To learn about other foods with great nutritional benefits, here are a few articles to consider: