It’s that time of year again and you’re ready to cozy up with some Pumpkin-Spice Everything. To be honest – October, November, and December are our favorite months of the year; the beautiful trees here in New England almost make us forget how chilly it’s getting!
In honor of this great season, Nature’s Batch will feature a new Fall flavor each week. Check out some of our favorite fall must-haves this year!
Week 1: Pumpkin
Besides the fact that pumpkin is absolutely delicious, there are many reasons why pumpkin is one of our favorites. Like all snacks, pumpkin treats should be enjoyed in moderation, but there are a number of health benefits that you can enjoy from eating pumpkin.
Having trouble sleeping? Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you to relax and sleep better. Tryptophan contributes to healthy production of serotonin in the body, a compound which acts as a neurotransmitter and helps to improve your mood and overall well-being. Studies show that a lack of serotonin leads to depression – so a little added pumpkin in your diet can help to counteract those shorter Fall days.
Lower Blood Pressure
Full of phytoestrogens, pumpkin seed oil can help prevent hypertension (according to a 2012 study). In sum, pumpkin seed oil promotes an increase of nitric oxide that helps to protect the heart and cardiovascular function.
Just a ½ cup of pumpkin contains the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A we need to help with healthy vision and fight retinal deterioration. The abundance of carotenoids (which give pumpkins their lovely orange color) are converted into additional Vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A also helps with bone growth and immune system health.
Promote Weight Loss
Pumpkin is rich in fiber and will help you stay fuller longer and prevent you from over-eating. With 3 grams of fiber per cup (and only 49 calories!) pumpkin can help you consume fewer calories and reach your weight loss goals.
Carotenoids in pumpkin (especially in pumpkin seeds) contain antioxidants like beta-carotene that keep cancer cells at bay and prevent cancer in healthy cells.
While keeping cells healthy and cancer-free, the carotenoids in orange foods like pumpkin and carrots also help protect the skin from harmful UV rays and keep it wrinkle-free. In fact, pumpkin pulp makes an incredible all-natural exfoliating face
mask. Check out the “recipe” here.
Now, when someone asks you if you want that extra slice of pie, you can feel good saying YES! It may be saving you a trip to the doctor. (I’m exaggerating, though…these great vitamins are only present in actual PUMPKIN, not just pumpkin flavoring or pumpkin spice.)