WHY YOU SHOULD BE EATING PUMPKIN
You know it’s fall when you start seeing “Pumpkin” everywhere, from lattes to pies, this crowd favorite is hard to miss. Whether you’re cooking with it or carving it, pumpkin is the perfect fall treat and here’s why we love it!
Thanks to their iconic bright orange color, pumpkins contain a large amount of beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A and a naturally occurring antioxidant. According to health officials at the University of Illinois, current research has shown that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer as well as cardiovascular disease and aging. Pumpkin is also naturally low in calories and carbohydrates, and as it’s health benefits suggest, it is a great source of iron, potassium and vitamin A. One cup of pumpkin has nearly your whole daily value of vitamin A!
Not all pumpkin is created equal! Beware and be aware of pumpkin as an ingredient and pumpkin as a flavoring. Seasonal flavors are delicious and marketable but they are not necessarily healthy. Pumpkin flavorings are mostly chemicals with little to none of the health benefits of the actual produce. Avoid items that contain “natural and artificial flavors,” and instead look for ones that use actual pumpkin.
There’s a reason why pumpkin is so popular this time of year and that’s because it is in season. Seasonal foods are better to consume because they are more nutrient dense and have fewer food miles. Food miles, meaning how far it takes for your food to get to you, can affect how your food is processed and when it is harvested. You want produce that is picked at peak ripeness because it contains the highest amount of nutrients. So go ahead to your local pumpkin patch and get picking!