Friday, October 11, 2013

Health benefits of pumpkin

Fall Blog Chain
This post is a part of the Fantabulous Fall Favorites blog chain put together by a great group of bloggers. The theme this week is pumpkins. Be sure to check out all the great ideas shared at the end of this post!
 
This is what has been appearing in front of the grocery stores lately. I took this photo in front of a Dillon's store, which is part of the Kroger chain. Aren't they beautiful?

 

And not only are pumpkins plentiful now, they are starting to go on sale. In a few weeks, they'll be really cheap! I, for one, plan to stock up and I'll tell you why. Pumpkins are good for you! 


I like pumpkins in general because they are so versatile - pie, soup, muffins, pancakes - on and on. And not only that, their consistency makes them a good substitute for egg which I always need because of Brady's egg allergy.

I had the idea they were healthy, but just recently did a little research to find out just exactly HOW healthy.  Here's what I found out about the nutrition of pumpkins as well as their interesting history:

  • Pumpkins are loaded with beta carotene. Every source I looked at, from CNN to Men's Health, mentioned this benefit. This antioxidant gives it its orange color and may help prevent heart disease and cancer and boost immunity.
  • It has tons of Vitamin A and Potassium. 
  • 1 cup has few calories (49) and lots of fiber (almost 3g). 
  • According to this article at How Stuff Works, canned pumpkin and fresh are about equally nutritious.
  • At WebMD, this article states that 80 % of the U.S. pumpkin supply is available in October. This article also states canned and fresh are fairly similar with small variations in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. 
  • According to the Poughkeepsie Journal it is also a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, riboflavin, copper and manganese. 
  • The Huffington Post reports that pumpkin seeds - also called pepitas - are rich in phytosterols which are touted for reducing bad cholesterol. Wikipedia states they are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc. 
  • The Huffington Post also states that pumpkin seeds can boost your mood because they contain the amino acid tryptophan and that pumpkin boasts more potassium than a banana. 
  • Livestrong.com touts the seeds' zinc content. 
  • Jack Creek Farms in California has a really neat website all about pumpkins. There is a full nutrition break down here, information on growing pumpkins here, a great list of varieties here and recipes here.
  • According to the farm website, pumpkin is a fruit!  Here's more about what constitutes a fruit or vegetable at Mayo Clinic's website.
  • Pumpkins originated in North America and were grown, cooked and eaten by Native Americans. I had no idea!
  • According to Wikipedia, the oldest evidence of pumpkin-related seeds dates between 7000 and 5500 BC in Mexico.
  • Also at Wikipedia, Nestle (under the name Libby's) produces 85 % of the processed pumpkin the U.S. I remember in 2009 when canned pumpkin had a shortage because of rains in Illinois.
  • When I first attempted to grow pumpkins last year, I was surprised to learn that the plant has both male and female flowers. It is well described here at Missouri Botanical Garden's website.
I hope this little research project has inspired you to go out and stock up on pumpkin as well. It's a far more interesting plant than I ever knew. Happy Fall!

Interested in more amazing Pumpkins ideas? Check out these posts!
Still want more? Head to our Fantabulous Fall Favorites Pinterest Board!

37 comments:

  1. I love pumpkins as food. Roast pumpkin with garlic and salt is my favorite!

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  2. Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods. It's so very versatile. We LOVE chocolate cake made with pumpkin instead of egg. It's very moist and the flavors compliment each other so well. And let's not forget, Illinois grows most of the nation's pumpkins ;)

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    1. Hey Stephanie! I've nominated you for a Sunshine Award. You can read about it on my blog today. :)

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    2. Goodness gracious, thank you! :) That's so sweet. And yes, I love pumpkins too though it is a recent appreciation of mine. I'll maybe make chocolate cake like that for Brady's bday coming up. And yes, I had forgotten it was rains in Illinois that led to that 09 shortage.

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  3. I love this article! You did a great job of finding lots of facts. I am pinning this!

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    1. Thanks, Jill! It was fun to learn all that. Next up I'm going to research okra :)

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  4. What a nice informative list! I love preparing pumpkin like squash - so yummy & filling. Seeds are so good to & good for you. ~Renee

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    1. Thanks, Renee! I like knowing what I'm eating is doing a lot of good for my body too :)

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  5. I love pumpkin too. I make a mean pumpkin butter and a pumpkin ribbon bread. I never thought of stocking up after Halloween!! Thank you for that inspiration!!

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    1. Oh boy, wish I could try both of those! This is the first year I'm going to stock up, but we love it!

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  6. Wow I did not know the health benefits of pumpkins. I only know that I love eating pumpkin pie. I saw Walmart had stacks of stack of pumpkins outside, I might just have to get me a few.

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  7. This is the time of year that I eat pumpkin everything. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin pudding and anything I can think of pumpkin. They are so healthy.

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    1. I've never made pumpkin soup but I just may try it this year.

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  8. I'm so glad that pumpkins are healthy! I absolutely love everything pumpkin. Thanks for sharing these interesting facts! Loved reading this post. :) Also, I've never thought of pumpkin as a fruit!

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    1. I know, thank goodness they are both good and good for you. Just a plain old pumpkin anything tastes like dessert. I enjoyed learning all this too :)

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  9. That's a lot of good for you stuff in pumpkin! I love roasting and eating pumpkin seeds! We'll do it in a couple of weeks!

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    1. I know, it's a multitasker! The seeds are one of our favorites, just love them.

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  10. I love pumpkins so much. They are just the biggest symbol of fall!

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  11. I didn't realize all the health benefits of pumpkins. I love pumpkin stuff and this time of year is my favorite!!

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    1. I didn't either. I figured it was good for you but didn't realize just HOW good.

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  12. Very interesting! Pumpkins are hard to come by here and quite expensive most of the time. But we stocked up last year and still have some left in the freezer for this year! I better get cracking on making something with it :-) And the kids love the seeds, too!

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    1. Oh good, you already knew to stock up! I can't wait to try different recipes.

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  13. I love pumpkin! I just made a Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta that I will be sharing the recipe for on my blog this week. So yummy! My kids wait for this dish every year.

    You found some interesting facts. Love that, so fun to learn new stuff about everyday things. I had no idea that pumpkins have more potassium than a banana. Who Knew? :)

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

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    1. Man, your sausage pasta looked amazing. I wish I could try it!!!! I had been wanting to know about its nutrition so this was fun to look up :)

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  14. We really like roasted pumpkin seeds, which are good for you, and pumpkin cheesecake, which tastes good.

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    1. I saw a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake enchiladas the other day that looked amazing. And I love the seeds, yum, yum.

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  15. YUM, one of our favorite fall favorites is stuffed pumpkin. Basically i cook a shepherds pie inside a sweet pumpkin. Seeds are roasted with sea salt and coarse pepper for day after snacks. Great post!

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    1. Now this is one I will most definitely try. We've done stuffed zucchini and patty pan but I never thought of stuffing a pumpkin.

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  16. Well... I am going to crack open a can of pumpkin RIGHT NOW! ;)

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  17. Interesting that canned is just about the same for nutrition as not canned... seems with most vegetables (or fruits, though I'd have a hard time labeling pumpkin a fruit!) the nutrients decrease when they are canned.
    Thanks for sharing at the hop :)

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    1. I know, this fruit thing has me wondering about peppers and cucumbers if fruits are the ones with the seeds? I don't quite get it. Thanks for stopping by Becca!

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  18. I love this! I haven't tried cooking with pumpkin before, but I love anything different and that I can stock up on for a good price. I read a post before about making your own pumpkin purée, but you have to use sugar pumpkins. Are those the only pumpkins to cook with?

    I love the structure of this post. I've been meaning to research lentils, kale, flax, and quinoa and I think I'll do a list much like this - thanks so much for the info and inspiration!

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    1. Well, supposedly jack o lantern pumpkins, the big ones, are not good for cooking. But I think I'd cook them anyway if I had a bunch, LOL. Oh boy, if you research those things and post, I'd love to read about it! Thanks so much for stopping by1

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