Fall obviously means pumpkin everything. My inner basic white girl (which really isn’t quite so inward) loves a good PSL from Starbucks, despite how unhealthy it may be. But there are some healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin, as well (even if they’re not quite as fun as pumpkin flavored coffee). Pumpkins have tons of health benefits, so make the most of your fall snacks by making them festive and healthy!
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HEALTH BENEFITS OF PUMPKIN
Pumpkin is good for weight loss because it is a low calorie food due to its high water content and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
All the beta-carotene in pumpkin is great for improving vision, decreasing cancer risk, and increased immunity! Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body – one serving of pumpkin can provide around 200% of your recommended daily intake for Vitamin A (and about 20% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C which also helps fight off pesky infections and illnesses)
Pumpkin is great for getting better skin! All that Vitamin A is good for giving us extra protection against UV rays, and pumpkin puree is a great ingredient to add to a homemade face mask.
While further research is needed, pumpkin has been shown to reduce glucose, increase glucose tolerance, and increase insulin, making it beneficial for diabetics.
PUMPKIN SEEDS (2)
High in: manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, zinc, iron, and protein
Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants, which help decrease cancer risk.
Pumpkin seeds have been shown to improve prostate health and prevent kidney stones due to its diuretic properties.
While researchers aren’t entirely sure how, pumpkin seeds are good for preventing parasitic activity.
If you struggle with arthritis, pumpkin seeds are good for reducing inflammation!
Due to the high amounts of protein in pumpkin seeds, they’re great for boosting metabolism and keeping you feeling full. Furthermore, getting an adequate amount of protein is essential for making sure the body functions properly.
The magnesium and tryptophan in pumpkin seeds are good for calming and inducing sleep.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with minerals that help prevent osteoporosis!
Pumpkin seeds have a huge effect on reducing risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol (thanks to the phytosterols) and reducing blood pressure due to the high amounts of copper as well as being low in sodium.
EASY, HEALTHY PUMPKIN RECIPES
DARK CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SEED BARK
- 12 oz dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 c. pumpkin seeds
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave using a glass bowl. Once melted, mix in the pumpkin seeds.
- Spread the mixture over the parchment paper and sprinkle salt on top to taste.
- Let the bark set for about 1 – 2 hours, or set in fridge or freezer.
- Once set, break into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
VANILLA PUMPKIN SEED CLUSTERS (3)
- 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp sugar
- Water, boiled
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a cookie sheet with some parchment paper.
- Combine syrup, vanilla, and sugar. To thin out the paste, you’ll add a drop of boiled water.
- Mix in the pumpkin seeds.
- Dollop spoonfuls of the mix onto the parchment paper, and place in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown (but not burnt).
- When done, let cool for a few minutes and then press the clusters together to make sure they won’t fall apart.
PUMPKIN ENERGY BITES (4)
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1/4 c. pureed pumpkin
- 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
- 2 c. old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 c. flax or chia seeds
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3 scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Mix the honey, pumpkin, protein, and peanut butter.
- Mix in oats, flax/chia seeds, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Chill mixture in fridge for 30 minutes, then roll into bite-size balls and then place in fridge for another 30 minutes to set.