Pumpkin is not just in season right now, it is an amazing health food that we should all be making the most of this Fall.
Save the meat, the seeds, and the mush and make them into several meals or snacks that will nourish your body top to bottom!
1. Calm anxiety and stress
Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, which helps calm the nervous system reducing stress and tension. Try them toasted with sprinkles of seaweed instead of salt.
2. Bone health
The magnesium in pumpkin seeds also helps us digest and use calcium adequately, so it is useful in bone and tooth health. Roast them and add some pumpkin spice seasoning for added flavor.
Yes, carved pumpkins do make us smile, but eating the seeds will make you smile bigger and for longer. They are packed with Tryptophan, an amino acid that triggers anti-depressant hormones in the body. Toss them in a little coconut oil and pop them in your salad.
4. Lower cholesterol and improve brain function
By snacking on the fatty acids in pumpkin seeds with a sprinkle of turmeric or a drizzle of honey, you can lower your cholesterol and improve brain function!
The Pulp, or Fruit (or Mush)
5. Relieve chronic pain and inflammation
Pumpkin's anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are super broad, covering organs and joints. Toss some cool roasted pumpkin into your quinoa salad and top with a little chia and poppy seed dressing to maintain your omega 3 levels for extra joint care.
6. Get healthy skin
Pumpkin is high in zinc and vitamin C. Create a thick pumpkin soup and top with pea shoots for a little greenery.
7. Smooth digestion
The large amount of fiber in pumpkin fruit helps move toxins out of your digestive tract much more quickly.
8. Eye health
Vitamin A is wonderful for protecting the eyes against degeneration, and pumpkin is full of it! Add a small amount to your carrot, ginger, turmeric juice or smoothie to double down on that vitamin A.
9. Lower hypertension
Lessen any high blood pressure events using the potassium in pumpkin to even out cardiovascular health.
The Fibrous Mush Around the Seeds (or Brains)
Potassium is also an electrolyte used to prevent muscle cramping after an intense workout. So blend some of that mush and mix it with your coconut water for use post-workout to replenish and hydrate your muscles.
11. Thwart PMS
Vitamin B6 and magnesium combined will get you there — while not a strong source, pumpkin is a source of several vitamin Bs (although not B12). Puree the fibrous strands with a little of the actual pumpkin meat and add it to hummus or risotto for a Halloween twist.
A good source of B vitamins and folate make pumpkin flowers (and all squash blossoms) a great way to safely supplement pregnancy if you are vegetarian. Add a bunch of them raw to the top of your rice dishes.
13. Immune support
Another source of pumpkins vitamin C levels is the flower itself! Stuff those flowers with your favorite filling and chow down.
So get to carving that Halloween decoration and spice up your health with a little pumpkin inners this autumn!
Image credit: True Food Movement