Did you know that the season's favorite fruit (yes – it is a fruit!) is actually really good for you? Hard to think of it as something healthy when typically baked in a buttery pie crust or drizzled into a sweet coffee drink.
In fact, pumpkin has a really impressive nutrient profile. It is especially packed with antioxidants, Vitamin A (with a whopping 245% of the Reference Daily Intake per cup), Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Folate, Vitamin E, and minerals like Iron, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Zinc.
Besides all the vitamins and minerals, here are some of the major health benefits of pumpkin:
Pumpkin is excellent for the skin. It is loaded with enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which increase cell turnover and thus brighten and smooth the skin. Also, the high amount of antioxidants, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C help soften the skin and boost collagen production, which prevents against skin aging.
Pumpkin does magic for digestion. Its high fiber content helps ease constipation, promotes overall bowel regularity, and improves gut health (which has been linked to an improved immune system!)
Pumpkin is great for the eyes. It is an excellent source of lutein, a type of carotenoid. Lutein is a powerful nutrient compound that plays a critical role in eye health. Emerging research suggests lutein could also improve cognitive function – especially in regards to learning, memory, concentration, and focus. Thanks, pumpkin!
This year I thought I would try a new twist on pumpkin spice (and everything nice). As an avid smoothie drinker, I had to find a delicious way incorporate it into my drink.
So behold the PUMPKIN PIE smoothie!
INGREDIENTS (1 serving)
3 frozen bananas
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (I used organic canned pumpkin from Farmers Market Foods)
2-3 soft, pitted dates
1 1/2 cup almond milk (or your plant milk of choice)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of vanilla bean or vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients together until smooth and well combined. Serve with a reusable straw, a pinch more cinnamon on top, and enjoy under cozy blanket or at your Thanksgiving breakfast!