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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Superfood of the Week: Health Benefits of Pumpkin

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Superfood: pumpkinFall is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love the beautiful colors of the leaves, and of course the food! One particular food that comes to mind is pumpkins! Pumpkins are a true sign that fall has arrived. During the months of September and October, pumpkins flourish. Many people think of them for carving, but, actually, pumpkins are considered a superfood! That’s why this week’s superfood is pumpkins.

Pumpkins are packed with a ton of nutrition. Low in fat and calories, pumpkins are rich in:

  • Fiber: ½ cup of pumpkin contains 5 grams of fiber. Fiber helps to control blood sugar, reduces bad cholesterol, promotes healthy digestion, and may also help aid in weight loss.
  • Beta Carotene: Benefits include powerful anti-aging properties and protection from damage caused by free radicals. Beta carotene can be converted by the body into Vitamin A.
  • Potassium: Helps to maintain heart, brain, kidney, and muscle function.
  • Magnesium: Effective for treating migraines and helps with absorption of calcium.
  • Pantothenic acid: Important for energy metabolism.

Pumpkins are very versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes including muffins, soups, breads, mousse, desserts, smoothies, and pancakes. It doesn’t have to be difficult to get pumpkin into your diet since the easiest way to get pumpkin is from the can! An added bonus is that you still get the same nutritional benefits from canned pumpkin as you would with fresh!  Want more recipes? The place to go is the Libby’s Canned Pumpkin website.  My all-time favorite pumpkin recipe:  Pumpkin Cake Roll! My mom made it every fall and I LOVE it!

Pumpkin isn’t overly sweet by itself—you can add it to pasta sauce, mashed potatoes, and a variety of other foods.  Check out these Plus Pumpkin ideas!

When carving your pumpkins this year, don’t throw out the seeds because they are loaded with nutrition too! Pumpkin seeds can be a healthy alternative snack to candy or chips. Pumpkin seeds are great sources of:

  • vitamin E
  • iron
  • zinc
  • omega 3 fatty acids

When roasted, they taste absolutely delicious alone, on salads, or with sautéed veggies. I'm taking my boys to the pumpkin patch tomorrow and can’t wait to make some of these great pumpkin recipes!

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Tags: Cooking Healthy , Healthy Eating , Nutrition , Recipes , Superfood of the Week

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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