Pumpkin Health Benefits
Even though Halloween is behind us, pumpkin season is just getting started! We still have plenty of pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin desserts to enjoy as Thanksgiving approaches. At the same time, you might be wondering how all this pumpkin affects your health. The good news is that pumpkin is incredibly good for you when eaten the right way and offers a whole host of health benefits.
What Is a Pumpkin and Where Does It Come From?
Odds are that you’ve seen a pumpkin before — whether it’s in a pumpkin patch or in your kitchen. But do you really know what a pumpkin is and where it comes from? Probably not.
Contrary to popular belief, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit since it contains seeds. However, when it comes to its nutrient profile, pumpkin more closely resembles a vegetable as it’s packed with nutrients and offers countless health benefits.
In the United States, “pumpkin” likely refers to Cucurbita pepo, an orange variety of winter squash from the Cucurbitaceae family that’s native to North America. In other parts of the world, “pumpkin” can refer to any type of winter squash, including butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash.
Nutrient Profile of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a superfood with an impressive nutrient profile. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central database, this is what you can get out of one cup or 245 grams of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin, without any salt:
- 1.76 grams of protein
- 2.7 grams of fiber
- 12 grams of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of cholesterol
- 0.2 grams of fat
- 49 calories
- 245% of daily Vitamin A
- 19% of daily Vitamin C
- 16% of daily potassium
- 11% of daily copper
- 11% of daily manganese
- 11% of daily Vitamin B2
- 10% of daily Vitamin E
- 8% of daily iron
4 Health Benefits of Pumpkin
But pumpkin does more than just provide you with the fuel you need to get through the day, it also offers a whole host of health benefits that can help you live a healthier lifestyle.
1. Pumpkin Can Boost Your Immune System
Pumpkin is jam-packed with vitamins that are known to boost your immune system. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and iron are all important components of the immune system that help fight off disease. So pumpkin is a great thing to add to your diet before flu season ramps up!
2. Pumpkin Can Support Eye Health
If you’re looking forward to seeing all the pretty lights this holiday season, pumpkin can help with that too! Pumpkin is a good source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A — both of which are tied to lower risks of cataracts and blindness. Pumpkin is also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin that are linked to lower risks of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as cataracts.
3. Pumpkin Can Help Your Skin
In preparation for all your holiday-themed family photoshoots, pumpkin can help you achieve flawless skin. For starters, pumpkin contains high levels of Vitamin C that your body uses to make collagen to help your skin stay glowy and youthful. Pumpkin also contains antioxidants that are able to protect your skin from damage from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
4. Pumpkin Can Improve Your Digestion
The holiday season tends to wreak havoc on your digestive system thanks to tons of rich and unhealthy foods. However, pumpkin can actually help improve your digestion thanks to their high fiber content. In turn, consuming enough fiber can help reduce your risk of colon cancer.
3 Best Ways to Eat Pumpkin
So how can you reap all the benefits of pumpkin with delicious yet healthy recipes? Here are some of our favorite ways to eat pumpkin this fall season:
1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth while staying healthy at the same time, then you need to check out these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Bougie Bakes. These healthy no-bake cookies have just the right balance of sugar-free chocolate chips and pumpkin with an amazingly soft and chewy consistency. And the chocolate chips aren’t the only thing that’s sugar-free — the entire cookie is in addition to being gluten-free and dairy-free.
2. Pumpkin Pecan Blondie Bites
If you’re not a big fan of chocolate, you can still enjoy yummy dairy-free desserts with these pumpkin pecan blondie bites. These blondie bites taste like your two favorite fall pies — pumpkin and pecan — in a single bite-sized blondie! And just when you think they couldn’t possibly get any better, they’re also keto-friendly so that you can fully enjoy them without any of the guilt.
3. Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies
If you’re vegan and are looking for a healthy dessert that tastes good without any of the bad stuff, then you need to check out these vegan pumpkin spice latte cookies. These sugar-free cookies are made with all the good stuff like espresso powder and none of the bad stuff like eggs, milk, sugar, etc. Instead, they contain vegan-friendly ingredients like almond flour, pumpkin powder, organic coconut oil, plant-based collagen, pumpkin spice, baking powder, espresso powder, water, pink Himalayan sea salt, and erythritol for sweetening purposes.
4. Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Mini Muffins
Another vegan alternative is our pumpkin pecan mini muffins. These delicious morsels bring fall to your taste buds in perfect bite-sized portions. These babies are keto-friendly, non-GMO, and vegan thanks to ingredients like unsweetened vanilla macadamia milk, pecans, oat flour, pumpkin powder, organic vanilla extract, pumpkin spice, and more.
Final Thoughts on Pumpkin
As you can see, there are countless benefits of eating pumpkin throughout the fall season. Just make sure to enjoy this superfood with other healthy foods and ingredients so that you can actually benefit from it. So before you reach for that pumpkin pie, try Bougie Bakes’ pumpkin desserts as healthy alternatives that will still satisfy your fall sweet tooth.