Ssssh. I have a secret. There is more reason to eating this season’s widely known squash other than the sweet pie. One reason being that the recognisable symbol of autumn – the pumpkin – provides an incredible dose of healthy nutrition.
Now is the time for the mighty pumpkin to shine. Don’t just think it should take its place on the windowsill with a candle inside and a ghoulish face to light up the night. The pumpkin has so much to offer that you would be crazy to let it slip by this season.
Here’s a look at some amazing nutrition in pumpkin.
Nutrition in Pumpkin
- Vitamin A & Carotenoids
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Here’s what some of those incredible nutrients can do for the body.
5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin
- Immune Health – Vitamin A and carotenoids are known to support immunity which is great news with the colder months ahead.
- Eye Health – Vitamin A is known to help vision. Eat more orange foods other than carrots!
- Heart Health – The pumpkin seeds have a great dose of magnesium, and this nutrient helps to promote healthy blood pressure.
- Healthy Digestion – Fibre helps to promote good digestion and regular bowel movements which aids in better use of nutrients from food and helping fat loss. Also, fibre helps to stabilise blood sugar levels which will help reduce energy slumps and cravings.
- Skin Health – The carotenoids in pumpkin may help neutralise free radicals, which can cause stress and damage to skin.
- Restore and Refuel – We know that a banana is great for potassium, however don’t forget about pumpkin! This wonderful squash has a great dose of the mineral. Potassium is an electrolyte, meaning that it helps to conduct electrical charges in the body. Normal levels of potassium are critical for the body, and it helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium can help restore electrolytes and maintain fluids in your body after a good workout, which ensures your muscles recover properly and helps you avoid cramping.
As you can see there is great reason to enjoy this autumn delight. To get inspiration on what to do with it other than a pumpkin pie, take a look at these two recipes, a sweet and savoury dish, to get your taste buds and health ramped up! You can use another type of squash in these recipes if you prefer, such as butternut squash.
Spiced Pumpkin Parfait
- ¾ cup canned pumpkin (or mashed cooked pumpkin)
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 cup rolled oats/muesli/granola
- Optional: Extra honey, if desired
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the pumpkin, honey, ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined.
- In two small glasses or bowls, scoop some of the pumpkin mixture into the bottom.
- Layer with the Greek yoghurt, oats, honey, and more of the pumpkin mixture.
- Optional: top with more oats.
- Sweeten with additional honey, if you wish.
Roasted Pumpkin and Pistachios
- ½ to 1 small or medium pumpkin (dependant on the size and how many servings you want), seeds removed, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50g pistachios
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C (~390 °F).
- Add the chopped pumpkin to a baking tray. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes until tender and caramelised. Cook longer if necessary.
- Meanwhile, roughly crush the pistachios with the thyme and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar, or bowl with the end of a rolling pin. Stir in the lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Once the pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven then spoon the pistachio mix over the top of the pumpkin.
- Serve with grilled meat or fish, and a side of green vegetables.
Whether you’re carving a Halloween pumpkin or fancy something a little different this month, give these recipes a go.
How do you enjoy pumpkin?
Got some tasty pumpkin recipes of your own? Tell us what you do with pumpkins and pumpkin seeds!