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Pumpkins Aren’t Just for Decoration

It’s that time of year! Pumpkins everywhere. Not only are they are great decoration for Halloween, they’re great for you. One of my fondest childhood memories is carving up a pumpkin in anticipation of dressing up and all the sugar I was about to consume. Luckily, now I look forward to all the pumpkin I get to eat instead.

Pumpkins













Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin is naturally low in calories and rich in health-promoting nutrients, including:

Fiber

  • reduces bad cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease
  • controls blood sugar levels
  • promotes healthy digestion
  • encourages weight loss

Potassium

  • Balances fluid levels
  • promotes strong bones
  • necessary for energy production
  • maintains healthy blood pressure

Alpha-carotene & Beta-carotene

  • improves vision & reduces risk of cataracts
  • reverses sun damage to the skin & slows the aging process
  • is an anti-inflammatory
  • prevents tumor growth
  • boosts the immune system
  • protects against heart disease

Vitamins C

  • boosts immunity
  • reduces high blood pressure and heart disease
  • regulates cholesterol levels

Vitamin E

  • slows aging by protecting the skin from sun damage
  • reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers

Magnesium

  • promotes a strong immune system
  • strengthens the bones
  • supports heart function

Pantothenic acid/vitamin B5

  • balances hormone levels
  • manages stress levels

My favorite pumpkin dish is a really simple soup- Just cook some vegetable broth, 4-6 cups of pumpkin, onion, garlic, a little curry powder and a potato or two on simmer for 20 minutes. Add coconut milk at the end. Puree in blender and serve. Delicious!

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and are an excellent plant-based source of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. The seeds protect against prostate cancer and prevent osteoporosis.

One way I love to eat pumpkin seeds is to slightly toast them, put them in a blender with silken tofu, nutritional yeast, and Bragg’s amino acids. This makes a great dip any time of year.

So this year, make it a new tradition to use the whole pumpkin and make healthier choices during the holiday season.

This article originally appeared on the Live Natural Live Well website

Heather Lounsbury

Heather Lounsbury, L.Ac., is a leading healthcare advisor and acupuncturist based in Los Angeles, California, USA. See Heather's website Live Natural Live Well to keep up to date with her work and to follow her natural therapies BLOG. Heather can be CONTACTED for in-person or Skype consultations.

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