This week we’re getting festive! With Halloween this weekend we felt it was necessary to highlight our favorite part of the holiday: PUMPKINS. We decided to nix the Jack o’ Lanterns and turn our pumpkins into a delicious, pumpkin pie inspired smoothie! Our friend and B4BC Ambassador Megan Pischke is sharing with us her recipe for a super healthy twist on a fall favorite. With this smoothie you can curb your sweet tooth cravings and get all the amazing health benefits that pumpkins have to offer (that we usually forget about)!
Like we said, pumpkins are often overlooked as a main dish due to their popularity during this time of year as a decoration on your doorstep. We wanted to remind you just how great these babies are for you body and give you reasons to chow down on them instead of that Halloween candy you have sitting by your door… (We’re all probably guilty of this one). We’ve got some BIG reasons for you here:
PUMPKINS HELP REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK
Like their orange comrades the sweet potato, the carrot and the butternut squash (to name a few), pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute. Food sources of beta-carotene seem to help more than a supplement, according to the NIH — even more reason to scoop up some pumpkin today. And the plant sterols in pumpkin seeds have also been linked to fighting off certain cancers.
PUMPKINS KEEP YOUR EYESIGHT SHARP
A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health. Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A for additional peeper protection.
PUMPKINS AID WEIGHTLOSS
Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. A fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds. A 2009 study found that people who ate a whole apple before lunch (the fiber is in the skin)consumed fewer calories throughout the meal than people who ate applesauce or drank apple juice, WebMD reported.
PUMPKIN SEEDS CAN HELP YOUR HEART
Nuts and seeds, including those of pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
PUMPKINS PROTECT THE SKIN
The same free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin that may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free, Health magazine reported.
PUMPKIN SEEDS CAN BOOST YOUR MOOD
Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, the famed ingredient in turkey that many think brings on the need for that post-Thanksgiving feast snooze. While experts agree that it’s likely the overeating rather than the tryptophan lulling you to sleep, the amino acid is important in production of serotonin, one of the major players when it comes to our mood, WebMD reports. A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds may help your outlook stay bright.
PUMPKINS CAN HELP AFTER A HARD WORKOUT
Ever heard of bananas being touted as nature’s energy bar? Turns out, a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.
PUMPKINS CAN BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System – Whether or not vitamin C can really ward off colds is still up for debate, but pumpkins are a solid source of the essential nutrient. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams the IOM recommends women need daily.
We weren’t kidding; don’t let the pumpkins reputation allow you to forget about them. These orange guys are more than just a pretty face and can help you maintain a more healthy body overall as well as decreasing your risk for diseases like cancer. This recipe can be the first of many ways to incorporate more pumpkin into your diet and it’s a DELICIOUS one at that!
- 1 banana
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ½ cup almond milk (or an almond coconut combo is delish)
- Small handful of Cacao nibs
- A spoonful of coconut yogurt (or yogurt of your choice)
- A few dashes of pumpkin spice- add extra cinnamon and some powdered ginger
Instructions: Blend, sip, and feel the holiday spirit!
Sources: Huffington Post