Fiber, Vitamin A, few calories - what a marvelous fruit! That's correct, pumpkin is a fruit! Try it in soup, seeds on salads, on the run, while at rest. The flesh is delectable, and the seeds and oil are really healthy!
For most of us, including us at Capitol Spine & Rehabilitation, we look to the pumpkin pies and breads and seeds to enjoy the efforts of the pumpkin farmers. As the pumpkins transform into Jack-o-Lanterns around Halloween and decorate our Baton Rouge front porches, many Baton Rouge residents saved the seeds to roast and enjoy. Did you know that was a healthy choice? Good for you!
Then, Thanksgiving approaches Baton Rouge, and the pumpkin pies roll out. Surprisingly, early pumpkin pies were actually cooked in pumpkins! Like we do today, early American settlers would carve the top off and remove the seeds, but they would then fill the pumpkin with milk, spices, and honey and bake the whole thing. Granted, there was no crust, but it was a healthier version of pumpkin pie!
Healthy pumpkin benefits are numerous! It's no wonder that the Native Americans used pumpkins seeds for food and medicine! (1)
- reduction in arthritis inflammation (2) and heart disease,
- prevention of osteoporosis in men due to the high zinc content - 71% RDA - in pumpkin seeds (3),
- stress reduction and irritability as the amino acid tryptophan in pumpkin seeds converts to GABA (an anti-stress neurochemical) in the brain (4),
- inhibition of benign prostatic hyperplasia in men (5),
- anti-oxidant protection from free radicals floating around in Baton Rouge due to the beta-carotene conversion into vitamin A (6) (Don't you just love the bright orange color beta-carotene gives the pumpkin!),
- support of good vision, eye and skin health, and a strong immune system due to the 246% Vitamin A content one serving offers (6), and
- improvement in postmenopausal women's issues taking pumpkin seed oil like an increase in HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and decrease in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches and joint pain (7)
From the flower to the inner flesh to the seeds, the pumpkin gives us its all! The flower is edible. The flesh is delectable in so many ways - pies, breads, smoothies. The pumpkin seeds are easy to make and fun to eat! Share some with your Baton Rouge friends and family!