Fall is in the air, and everywhere you look, you’re seeing the month’s favorite starlet: pumpkin. This festive, colorful squash is more than just a seasonal decoration. Loaded with nutritional benefits, pumpkins are in their prime season during October and November. Stock up at your local pumpkin patch or grocery store and try the recipes below to reap the nutritional benefits!
Top Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkins
Immune System Support
Pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which your body transforms into vitamin A. Studies have shown that maintaining proper levels of this vitamin can support your immune system.1
May Promote Healthy Eyesight
Studies have shown that vitamin A deficiencies are commonly linked to blindness.3 Although vitamin A deficiency is not common in the U.S., maintaining adequate intake levels is important to support healthy eyesight.5 Lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that give pumpkin its vibrant color, also contribute to maintaining eye health.
May Support Heart Health
Pumpkins contain potassium, which, when eaten as part of a balanced diet, is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels which supports heart health.7
Can Contribute To Maintaining Healthy Skin
Pumpkins contain vitamins A, C, and E, as well as antioxidants, which come together to help support and maintain your skin’s health.
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
“Pumpkin spice” may be everywhere nowadays, but most of these foods contain very little pumpkin. Instead, the term usually refers to the blend of seasonings that are found in pumpkin pie recipes (like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice). To get the nutritional benefits listed above, you’ll have to consume real pumpkin. This colorful squash can be used to create traditional autumn favorites, like pumpkin soup. Pumpkin can also be used as a base ingredient in vegan pasta sauce or as the star of the show in unconventional dishes, like a pumpkin stir fry.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with adding pumpkin to desserts. For a healthier sweet treat, try orange-date-pumpkin muffins or a mouthwatering frozen pumpkin mousse pie.