A Healthier Halloween

Posted on October 19, 2015

It is quite easy to get yourself wrapped up in the spirit of the Halloween holidpumpkinpatchay. Everything from decorating our homes, ourselves, and enjoying the sweetest candy we can find. Aside from ghosts and goblins a very common sight around this time is pumpkins. Yes, pumpkins. Many pumpkins go into Halloween as either decoration, for carving, or as a tasty, seasonal treat.

Pumpkin gets used in a variety of baked goods and flavored beverages. As delicious as these items are the fact remains to be seen on how nutritious both pumpkins and pumpkin seeds continue to be. Both are great sources of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.

Beginning with pumpkins we find many great benefits. Pumpkins are an excellent source of vitamin A. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), vitamin A aids in vision. Specifically, in dim light. Pumpkins are also rich in fiber. One cup of pumpkin contains three grams. By staying fuller, longer we see the added benefit of weight management/loss.

Lastly, another benefit to eating pumpkin is post-workout/exercise recovery. One cup of cooked pumpkin will yield 564mg of potassium; compared to a banana which is only 422mg. Potassium is an electrolyte that assists in the muscle contraction relaxation relationship. Restoring proper levels after an exercise session is made easier with pumpkin and leads to a quicker recovery.

Pumpkin seeds are those little white things we see throughout our pumpkins when we go to carve them. Actually, those are the shells the seeds are inside. Pumpkin seeds are tiny, green seeds that too are packed with quite a bit of nutrition.

pumpkinseedSince we just talked about potassium and the relationship it has with exercise, pumpkin seeds too have a connection. The seeds contain magnesium. Magnesium is also an electrolyte. This particular electrolyte contributes to the production of ATP which is the energy molecule of the body. Magnesium plays a role in the muscle contraction relaxation relationship as well.

These seeds are also rich in zinc. This mineral is very beneficial. Zinc plays a role in immunity, cell growth, sleep, and mood. One ounce of seeds contains 2mg of zinc. Some other benefits from pumpkin seeds include anti-inflammatory effects, cancer prevention, and the reduction of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

As the holiday continues just remember there are plenty of benefits to be had from one of the biggest symbols of the autumn season. Give pumpkin an honest try. It isn’t just a flavor.

 

Photo Credits – L.Kemp, and Flickr.

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