The great pumpkin hits the table
I absolutely love pumpkin and I am now seeing more products advertised containing pumpkin - even coffee lattes. Can you share the benefits of pumpkins?
Most associate pumpkins with pie, bread, jack-o'-lanterns and Charlie Brown, but there is much more to pumpkins. Pumpkins have many health benefits: They are low in calorie content, high in fiber, high in vitamin A, high in zinc, contain no saturated fat or cholesterol, and they taste great! According to the National Institutes of Health, a cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of the daily, recommended intake of vitamin A, which helps one's vision, especially night vision. Pumpkin is great added to soup, stew, pasta sauce, hummus, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies and baked goods. The options are endless and, needless to say, mouthwatering! However, if the taste of pumpkin is not high on your list, you might want to consider pumpkin seed oil or pepita oil. In a 2008 study published in the journal of Phytotherapy Research, results showed supplementing with the oil can lower cholesterol and blood pressure thanks to it phytoestrogens and phytosterols. The oil is also a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin K. If you prefer pumpkins seeds, just one-quarter cup contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, magnesium participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels and proper bowel function. If you plan on consuming pumpkin seeds on a regular basis, I would recommend that you soak them or sprout them. If you prefer the seeds roasted, you can roast them yourself on a low heat setting, no more than 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Just sprinkled with a dash of sea salt and let roast for about 15-20 minutes. And for a bit of pumpkin trivia: Did you know. that the Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin? That pumpkins are 90 percent water? That 80 percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October? And that Antarctica is the only continent that cannot grow pumpkins?
Thought for the week: The happiest people don't have the best of everything-they just make the best of everything!
The next free nutrition class will be held, November 8, 2015, 7 p.m. at Organic Emporium.
Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.
-By Phylis Canion