health benefits from pumpkin
You didn’t think pumpkin season was over, did you? I know we often associate pumpkins with Halloween. I mean, duh.
But the thing is, I think pumpkins should never go out of season! And I don’t mean for decor. Pumpkin is an insanely healthy food choice and health benefits from pumpkin are crazy. For real, they offer so much to your body, they can help your eye and skin health, and they can even support weight loss. Talk about a superfood!
On top of all of this, I really love pumpkin for its versatility. You can chop it up and add it to a savory stew or you can blend it for a creamy dessert.
If you’ve never cooked with pumpkin, don’t panic! It’s pretty straightforward. Really, cooking with pumpkin is pretty much just like cooking with any other squash. You’ll have to do the usual peeling, seeding, and chopping, but you’ll get rewarded with a nutritious powerhouse that can help you toward your wellness, weight, and skin goals! The health benefits from pumpkin are soooo worth it. Pssttt… if you need ideas for new recipes, check out my nutrition plans.
I’m not joking. Pumpkins totally rock. And I’ve got proof! Here are five reasons you should be eating pumpkin.
#1: They’re SO GOOD for your skin
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the sun goes away. Sure, you might be getting less sunlight, but I actually think that makes it easier to skimp on sunscreen. But sun damage is one of the quickest ways to age your skin, so winter’s actually a pretty risky time for your appearance.
But I’ve got good news, girls! Pumpkins have a ton of antioxidants, which help protect your skin from damage. Plus, they’re rich in beta-carotene, which acts as a sort of sunblock. When you eat pumpkin, your body sends beta-carotene to your skin and other organs. Once there, it can help to protect you against UV rays.
Now, I’m not saying you should skip sunscreen. You should never skin sunscreen. But if you’re looking for a way to give your skin an extra layer of protection, pumpkin is it!
Oh, and on top of all of this, pumpkin can help your body make collagen, the protein that helps you fight wrinkles.
Pumpkin is great for your skin when you eat it, but it’s also awesome when applied topically. If you want to double-up on pumpkiny goodness, check out our DIY pumpkin body scrub on the blog!
#2: Pumpkins are packed with antioxidants and vitamins
Ready to be impressed? Just one cup of cooked pumpkin has:
- More than twice your daily recommended amount of vitamin A
- Nearly 20% of the vitamin C you need each day
- About 15% of your daily recommended dose of potassium, which most Americans are low in
On top of all this, pumpkin also has:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
- A little bit of protein
For real, eating pumpkin is kind of like taking a multivitamin.
In the middle of a pandemic and with flu season in full swing, giving your body what it needs — like plenty of vitamin C — can make a huge difference. Vitamin C from something like these Pumpkin Spice Crumble Muffins? Sign me up.
On top of all of the other health benefits from pumpkin, pumpkin has a whole bunch of antioxidants. Basically, your cells face oxidative stress on a daily basis. And this can lead to a whole bunch of serious chronic health conditions (including cancer). Antioxidants give your cells a way to combat that stress and stay healthy.
Long story short, if you’re looking for a wellness boost, pumpkin delivers.
#3: They help your eyes
Anybody else feel like they’re living their whole lives over Zoom these days? I know I can’t be alone in this. And, look, I’m so grateful I can still see everyone’s beautiful faces, even digitally! But all that time looking at a screen has my eyes feeling tired.
I know it’s a little weird to think about self-care for your eyes, but those peepers might need some love. And pumpkin can step in to help. It has vitamin A, zeaxanthin, and lutein, all of which help your eyes.
Zeaxanthin and lutein are both carotenoids, just like the beta-carotene we talked about earlier. Your body takes these carotenoids to your eyes to protect them. In fact, both of these compounds have been linked to a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration as you get older.
We don’t really know what all of this screen time is going to do to our eyes down the road. I like the idea of eating things — like pumpkin — to help offset some of it.
#4: Pumpkins can support weight loss
Here’s the thing about pumpkin: they’re 94% water. So, basically, they’re pretty much completely water (which your body needs, babe) and nutrients. You’re really only bringing good stuff into your body when you eat them.
On top of all this, a cup of pumpkin has just 49 calories. Picture how full you’ll feel after eating a whole cup of pumpkin. This is a filling, ultra-healthy food that can be super helpful if you’re trying to lose weight or just be healthier in general.
#5: They’re delicious!
We can’t forget one of the best things about pumpkins: they taste great! They’re easy to eat and you can add them to pretty much anything, savory or sweet. Have you tried our gluten-free Healthy Pumpkin Oat Bars yet? OMG, SO GOOD.
Seriously, I’m not done eating pumpkin just because October is over. Give it a try for yourself! Add a little more pumpkin to your diet and see how you feel. I bet you’ll love it!