Instead of discarding the in- side of the pumpkins you carve, try cooking and eating them. Almost every part - from the skin, to the pulp to the seeds - is rich in vita- mins, minerals and antioxidants. A fiber-rich, nutrient-dense, weight-loss-friendly food, pumpkin has only 50 calories per cup and takes longer to digest, thus curbing your appetite. Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols that reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Pumpkin is high in riboflavin to fight off bacterial infections, folate to boost the immune system and vitamin C to combat colds. It is a source of vitamin A, which, ac- cording to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), helps to improve vision. Vitamin A is also an anti- aging nutrient that assists in cell renewal and increases collagen production to enhance skin smoothness. Carotenoids, anti- oxidants that give pumpkins their orange color, also help to keep our skin wrinkle-free and prevent cancer. As explained by Shape magazine, pumpkins can help us to feel good. They contain the amino acid tryp- tophan, mostly in the seeds. This amino acid is essential to the body’s production of serotonin, a mood-controlling hormone that can work as a neurotransmitter to make us feel relaxed and mellow. Pumpkin’s sweet flavor makes it a popular ingredient in dishes that include custards, pies and pancakes, but it works just as well in savory dishes. You can use a carved-out pumpkin to serve creamy hummus that combines pumpkin pulp, chickpeas and garlic. Use the flesh and seeds to make creamy pumpkin and lentil soup. You can make chicken with pumpkin and chickpeas, a fragrantly spiced adaptation of a Tunisian dish, in a little over an hour.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF
No matter how you carve or slice it, pumpkin is versatile, satisfying and nutritious.
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