I love summer, and I always get really bummed when the weather starts to cool off, and I know that Fall will be here…and then the dreaded winter. I digress. The fall can be such a great time and some of my most favorite foods are available: Macintosh apples, apple cider, pumpkins, and tons of different squashes pop up at my local farms. I love pumpkin baked goods, but I don’t like fake pumpkin, so I get really excited when sugar pumpkins are available so I can roast them and use fresh pumpkin in my recipes and get all of the nutritional benefits! Pumpkins aren’t only pretty and yummy, they really are good for you.
What makes Pumpkin a Super Food?
For one thing, it is low in calories: 49 calories in a cup of pumpkin, which also contains 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and lots of vitamins and nutrients! One serving of pumpkin contains almost double the recommended daily dose of beta-carotene, also known as Vitamin A, which can help to prevent free radicals (presumable prevent certain types of cancer), improve eye sight/vision, tighten skin (or prevent wrinkles), and also protect against heart disease. They are also rich in Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Folate, Vitamin C, and Potassium (way more than bananas which can help to replace electrolytes lost during workouts.)
That whopping dose of fiber can help to make you feel fuller faster, and with lower calories in the pumpkin, it can also help with weight loss. That much fiber can also help keep your bowels more regular (if you are in need of that!)
One of the amino acids present in pumpkins, and pumpkin seeds, can boost your serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that improves your mood and makes you feel happier. Maybe there is some reason I feel like I am a pumpkin addict: it makes me happy! I do feel like people who like pumpkin go pumpkin crazy as soon as it’s available, and maybe there is some science to that.
How to Roast Your Own?
1. Get a sugar pumpkin and wash the outside to remove all dirt.
2. Cut your pumpkin in half.
3. Scoop out the seeds and inside strings with a spoon. You can save the seeds, dry them and roast them separately or just toss them.
4. Flip the pumpkins so the skin side is up, and poke a few fork holes in the skin to allow steam to escape when roasting and roast in your oven, in a roasting pan, for around 45-50 minutes on 375F.
When they are done roasting, let them cool, and the pumpkin flesh should be really soft and scoop right out. You can add this to any dish that calls for canned pumpkin in the same amount, and just add your own spices. It is SO easy, and so much better tasting, plus there are no preservatives…I see no negatives!
So feel good about it, go get your pumpkin on, and feel good about indulging in Fall’s favorite Super Food!
Yours in Good Health