Pumpkin season is finally here! Fall’s signature squash is not only good for making soups, pies, breads, and even beer, but it can also be juiced uncooked providing a delicious and nutritious drink that wards off many common ailments. The bright orange gourd is rich in nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, sodium, and zinc.
Today, we’ll discuss the many health benefits of this vibrant squash and share one of our favorite pumpkin smoothie recipes, too!
Health Benefits of Pumpkin:
Anti-inflammatory properties – pumpkins are an excellent source of beta-cryptoxanthin, a powerful anti-inflammatory. The seeds are high in zinc and promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate. The seeds can also help to prevent kidney stone formation.
Anti-oxidant protection – effectively protects the respiratory system from infections and free-radical attacks and prevents arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Immune system booster – high in carotenoids, the compounds that give the pumpkin its orange color, are good immune system boosters, assisting the body’s ability to fight colds and flu by increasing the production and performance of white blood cells.
Cancer prevention and more – the carotenoids are also known for cancer prevention and eye protection. A particular anti-oxidant, zeaxanthin, protects from age-related macular disease in the elderly.
Prevents heart disease and stroke – the cleaning power of this gourd helps to scrub away the old build-up of arterial deposits, reducing the risks of heart diseases and stroke.
Promotes bone health – rich in calcium to build strong bones, optimize bone mass, and help to reduce risk of osteoporosis.
Heals digestive conditions – when raw pumpkin is juiced, it has a calming effect on the gastrointestinal tract, helpful in healing digestive issues and peptic ulcers.
Great for skin – the combination of anti-oxidants (vitamins A, C, E, and zinc) provides a synergistic healing for the skin, including wrinkle prevention.
Helps prevent depression – contains L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe (serves 2):
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut or almond milk
1 frozen banana, sliced
½ cup coconut water or pure water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ¼ teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
2-3 drops of liquid stevia or 1 teaspoon raw honey
Handful of crushed pecans with a sprinkle of nutmeg for topping
Combine all ingredients (except pecans and nutmeg) in blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg and top with crushed pecans.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmtimages/2953262392/”>jmtimages</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/39975765@N05/8062566984/”>mallydally</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>