7 Reasons we're adding pumpkin to our food shop
The VITL Nutrition Team
What do you think of when someone says pumpkin? Cinderella’s carriage? Halloween? How about the rather impressive array of health benefits that this large squash has?
What makes this fruit (which is commonly mistaken for a vegetable) orange you ask? Something called carotenoids, which have beneficial, antioxidant effects and some of which can be converted to Vitamin A within the body1. These carotenoids are present in young, green pumpkins. As the fruit ripens, the green colour, caused by chlorophyll, gives way to the orange-coloured carotenoid pigment.
Pumpkin makes for a wonderful addition to your diet, especially during the winter months. Almost as if nature intended it that way! Check out our top 7 reasons we’re picking up all the pumpkins for the kitchen this autumn.
Top 7 reasons to add pumpkin to your next food shop
- Seasonal during the months of September, October and November
- Weight loss friendly: because it is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while being low in calories
- Vitamin A: beta carotene is a precursor to vitamin A in the body which itself has immune-boosting winter wellness effects
- Full of skin-loving vitamins. Pumpkin is packed full of all the skin-friendly vitamins, such as pro-vitamin A, C and E in particular.
- Immune system and skin health benefits are particularly important at this time of year! Vitamin C in pumpkins acts as a building block for your immune cells and is important for collagen production in the skin.
- Powerful Antioxidant. Vitamin E in pumpkins helps to relieve cells of oxidative stress, which can be caused by pollution as well as a poor diet and lifestyle.
- Prebiotic qualities that are great for the gut! The fibre content in pumpkins allows for probiotics to work optimally by acting as a food source for the probiotic bacteria. This fibre source also known a prebiotic and is important to consume with probiotics!
When cooking the pumpkin, don’t chuck the seeds, save and use them! Dry them overnight and toss them in olive oil and seasoning or leave plain and then pop them in the oven at 325 degrees F (162 C) for 20-30 minutes or until light golden brown.
Pumpkin seeds make for great salad toppers or snacks (both plain or seasoned) or in your morning porridge when baked plain
Pumpkin is also a versatile vegetable when it comes to getting crafty in the kitchen. Cooking methods are so versatile, it is used in starters, mains and desserts! It can be baked, steamed, roasted, boiled, baked into a pie, whizzed into a soup and even stirred into a cosy autumnal latte!