During the fall months, pumpkins, which we hardly hear about most of the year, are suddenly everywhere. Besides the classic pumpkins for carving used for halloween, pumpkins can be found almost anywhere. Many foods get a special pumpkin spice flavor, and coffee shops across the country sell their limited pumpkin flavored brews which are only available during the fall. 

Pumpkins have many health benefits. They are full of important vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.  Pumpkins contain Beta-Carotene, an antioxidant which is what gives pumpkins their orange color. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A, a vitamin that supports healthy vision.They also have a high fiber content, which aids the digestive system, and pectin which a probiotic believed to support good gut health. Pumpkin is high in potassium which is believed to support lower blood pressure and heart health. Vitamins A, C, and E improves the immune system.

According to verywellfit.com, one cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 49
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 2.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sugars: 5.1g
  • Protein: 1.8g
  • Vitamin A: 706mcg
  • Vitamin C: 11.5mg
  • Potassium: 564mg
  • Phosphorus: 73.5mg

In addition to the pulp of the pumpkin, pumpkin seeds also provide many health benefits in their own right. They are rich in antioxidants and also have anti-inflammatory effects. They are a fantastic way to boost magnesium, which can help support nerve and muscle function, a healthy immune system, and is important to heart health.

Unlike some veggies, pumpkins are pretty much inedible when raw. But there is good news: pumpkins are very easy to prepare! In order to cook a pumpkin, you first need to cut a hole in the top around the stem so that you can get inside of the veggie to clean it. Pumpkins have what many refer to as “guts” which need to be scooped out of the pumpkin. 

As you scoop and dispose of the guts, be sure to collect any pumpkin seeds you remove in a bowl. Once you clean off all of the remaining guts from the seeds, they can be eaten raw. We however, recommend you try them roasted! You can lightly roast pumpkin seeds in the oven:

  • at ~250 Degrees Fahrenheit for ~1 hr to dry them out, and then 
  • at ~350 Degrees Fahrenheit for ~20 minutes to finish the roast.  

Pumpkins themselves can be prepared in many ways for consumption. It can be boiled, steamed, roasted, sautéed, grilled and fried. Check online for the best ideas for cooking pumpkins in the way that you will most enjoy. The possibilities are nearly endless!

If you have not already added pumpkin into your seasonal fall diet, it’s time to start thinking about it! Eating more pumpkin is a healthy and tasty way for you to support your body and promote a healthy lifestyle.