We begin to see pumpkins just about everywhere as the summer ends and Autumn begins. We see pumpkins on doorsteps, tiny pumpkins in wreaths or on coworker’s desks, and we see pumpkins on menus of every coffee shop and cafe we frequent. From pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes, there is ample opportunity to indulge. And guess what! There is also ample reason!
Bring on the Bountiful Benefits of Pumpkin!
If you love pumpkin, you love this time of year. If you love pumpkin, you may also find yourself trying to refrain from reaching for your favorite Fall treat, believing that your waistline will have to pay the price if you don’t. Here’s one bit of good news: pumpkin is loaded with fiber and potassium. These two nutrients are advantageous to weight maintenance and also to blood pressure. Additionally, pumpkin contains several other nourishing ingredients that support eye health. These include:
- Vitamin C fights against macular degeneration as well as cataracts, two conditions that could cause significant vision impairment.
- Vitamin A has protective properties for the cornea. It also strengthens the eyes to see in low-light settings.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin filter out harmful wavelengths of light from the eyes, just like sunscreen does for your skin. Both powerful antioxidants, these nutrients also combat the onset of eye disease.
Eat This, Not That
There are ways to obtain the extensive benefits of pumpkin, and there are ways to enjoy the flavor of pumpkin without helping your eyes one bit. Interestingly, the pumpkin products that are most readily available to us, all those tasty cookies and cakes and breads – and let’s not forget PIE – tend to have a lot of sugar in them.
There’s pumpkin, and then there’s pumpkin spice flavoring. To reap all the health benefits of this Fall fruit, your best bet is to reach for the real thing more often. Sorry, Starbucks. Instead of a morning latte, add pumpkin to your Fall and Winter months with:
- Soup! A homemade pumpkin soup with other Fall vegetables is a great way to end the day.
- Smoothies, or better yet, homemade Pumpkin Chai Latte.
- Roasted pumpkin in a warm spinach salad, or as a main dish.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds for a crunchy, healthy snack.
Wishing a Happy Fall to all of our patients!