‘Tis the Season.
THE SEASON FOR PUMPKIN! *cue demonic laughter*
While I am not, and never have been, a PSL devotee (tho I hear they’re making vegan ones now), I am a huge fan of pumpkin. In part because from stem to seed – and everything in between – it’s so dang good for you!
Pumpkin can help you:
Lose Weight & Lower Blood Sugar: the high fiber content in low-calorie pumpkin helps your body absorb sugar slower and keeps you feeling full longer – which means less snacking! Most Americans average just 15g of fiber a day, which is barely half of the recommended levels of 25-30g a day. Its positive effect on blood sugar also means it can help diabetes sufferers slow the progression of the disease and improve insulin resistance.
Improve Your Skin: the vitamins C, E and carotenoids in pumpkin can help improve your skin from the inside out. In addition, you can use the pulp to make an all-natural brightening, softening skin mask to keep scaly winter skin at bay. Pumpkin oil can even help balance out oily skin while moisturizing dry skin – but more on that later.
Lower Cancer Risk: According to the National Cancer Institute, the beta-carotene in pumpkins may play a role in cancer prevention. Food sources of beta-carotene are more readily absorbed by the body, making them more effective than supplements. Research has also suggested a positive relationship between a diet rich in beta-carotene and a reduced risk of prostate cancer which studies have shown to have a positive effect on the development of colon cancer.
Reduce Inflammation: These carotenoids are doing WORK. A study actually found that consuming beta-cryptoxanthin – one of the carotenoids found in pumpkin, can reduce inflammation and your chances of developing its related ailments, like rheumatoid arthritis.
See In the Dark: Ok, not really BUT in addition to all those amazing carotenoids, pumpkins also contain a wealth of antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E. All of the above support eye health and can even help prevent degenerative damage. In addition, just one cup of pumpkin contains 200+% (200!!) of the average recommended daily intake of vitamin A, (which the body makes by converting beta-carotene) a vitamin essential to eye health and function.
Add More McSteamy to Your Life: Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, a mineral that influences a man’s fertility, potency, sex drive, and long-term sexual health. It can boost testosterone production as well as help in the fight against prostate cancer. So roast em up and chomp away!
Boost Immunity: Zinc helps regulate the immune system, fight infection and heal wounds. It’s most commonly used to treat the common cold as some studies have found that it can reduce the duration of a cold by as much as 50% and may even help prevent upper respiratory infections in children. On top of all that, it has also been shown to help with ulcers, ADHD, acne, sickle cell anemia, and multiple other conditions.
In addition, the massive dose of vitamin A in pumpkin flesh/puree also helps your body fight infections, and viruses while providing 20% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C.
Give You Good Hair Days: Pumpkin oil is an unsung heeeeeeeeeeeeeero. It can do truly amazing things for your hair and scalp. For one, pumpkin oil helps fight various bacterial and fungal infections, in part because it contains high concentrations of sulfur, a major component of keratin (that stuff hair and nails are made of) and a natural destroyer of psoriasis, dandruff, and eczema. It’s also rich in Vitamin A, beneficial for strengthening the hair shaft and balancing sebum, biotin aka ‘B7’ which promotes hair growth by helping your body produce better quality keratin, all the BEST omegas (3, 6 & 9) which are full-on anti-inflammatories that also help open up the hair follicles and promote new growth.
So by now, I’m sure you’re like ‘FINE! I’LL EAT THE DANG PUMPKIN! JUST TELL ME HOW!’
I’m planning on trying out some great, vegan pumpkin recipes this season so stay tuned for more soups, sauces and, of course, baked goods, utilizing this amazing, seasonal powerhouse. I’ll start adding the links to the end of this blog as the new recipes go up. 👌🏾