Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a remarkable source of the powerful antioxidant-beta carotene and also contains fiber, potassium, magnesium, and b-vitamins (just to name a few). This Halloween, don't forget to save those pumpkin seeds after you scoop them out. Pumpkin seeds can be tossed in any recipe where you would normally add nuts. Even try adding the ground seeds to hot cereals. Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious but also provide many health benefits. Here are ten:

Prostate Protection
They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.
Improved Bladder Function
In some studies, pumpkin seed extracts improved bladder function in animals.
Depression Treatment
They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.
Treatment of Parasites
They are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites. Studies also show them to be effective against acute schistosomiasis, a parasite contracted from snails.
Great Source of Magnesium
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium, a mineral in which most Americans are deficient.
Lower Cholesterol
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
Cancer Prevention
The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.

Pumpkin smoothies and roasted pumpkin seeds are two tasty ways to enjoy pumpkin without all the fat and sugar.

Pumpkin Smoothie
One of the most nutritious pumpkin snacks you can find. With only 50 calories per serving and a powerful dose of beta carotene (which gives you more than 100% of your daily Vitamin A requirement), this thick and tasty smoothie squashes all the competition.

½ cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup low-fat milk or low-fat vanilla yogurt
½ banana (optional)
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp brown sugar
4 - 6 ice cubes

Mix all ingredients together in the blender and puree to your liking. Makes three servings. Nutrients per serving: 50 calories, 0 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 180% Vitamin A

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds (raw and washed)
Cooking spray (canola based)
Garlic salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pull pumpkin seeds out of a fresh pumpkin and wash thoroughly. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the seeds on the cookie sheet. Lightly spray the tops of the seeds with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 min. Nutrients per ½ cup: 140 calories, 6 grams fat (healthier mono- and polyunsaturated fats), 6 grams protein, 2 - 4 grams fiber, 300 mg potassium

... And have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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