Fall is the perfect time for popular seasonal foods, as apples, pears, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, kale, winter squash, and pumpkins are in their prime harvesting season. Most specifically, pumpkin is very popular right now and you may enjoy it in typical things such as pumpkin pie, a pumpkin spice latte, or pumpkin and cream cheese muffins. Despite these sweet treats contain a significant amount of sugar, trans fats, and refined grains, pumpkin is actually a superfood and is very healthy for you if eaten in whole form.
Pumpkin not only packs a punch with vitamin C which can boost your immunity and help prevent the onset of a cold or the flu, but it is also rich in vitamin A that promotes good vision, healthy skin, teeth and bones. This food also contains the antioxidant beta carotene which can reduce your chances of getting cancer. Ever eat pumpkin seeds? Well you’re in luck, they are protein, fat and fiber rich, which can keep you full! Even better, these seeds contain potassium and tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, which boosts your mood, helps you feel calm, and sleep better. As winter approaches, college students are struggling to stay healthy on campus, and what better way to alleviate stress and prevent the onset of illness than eat this seasonal food!
Want to reap the benefits of this superfood in a healthier way than your Starbucks fix? Buy a pumpkin or a can of pumpkin puree and make these simple, delicious and nutritious treats:
- Add pumpkin puree to oatmeal, sprinkle some cinnamon on top!
- Make a marinara sauce and add to your favorite pasta dish, risotto, or as a base for pizza
- Bake some pumpkin seeds with extra-virgin coconut oil and pumpkin pie spice, and add it to a yogurt parfait or a bowl of cereal
- Add pumpkin puree to any pancake or waffle mix
- Make some of these mini cranberry pumpkin muffins to satisfy your sweet tooth
- Blend pumpkin into a delectable pumpkin soup!
- Add cooked and herbed pumpkin chunks to a salad, stir fry, chili, egg scramble or quiche.
By Rebecca Block
Peer Health Advocate
Class of 2018