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5 Benefits of Pumpkin (+5 Recipes)

pumpkins

T’is the season for pumpkins! These might orange gourds are indelibly linked to fall memories from Halloween straight on through Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.

Learn more about the nutritious pumpkin, including ways to add it to your meals. Read on to discover cool pumpkin trivia, nutritional benefits and tasty recipes.

5 Pumpkin Facts for the Trivia-Minded

Its bright orange flesh may be why this fruit — yes, it’s technically a fruit — is a famous American icon. Today we’re sharing six pumpkin facts that you can take to the trivia table:

Fun Fact #1: Pumpkins are grown on all six continents with the exception of Antarctica where it’s too cold.

Fun Fact #2: In America, Illinois calls itself the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.” It produces 95% of all pumpkins in this country.

Fun Fact #3: We carve them into jack-o’-lanterns to greet treat-or-treaters each Halloween, but pumpkins have been used in celebrations for nearly 10,000 years.

Fun Fact #4: Pumpkin is nutritious — one cup of cooked pumpkin provides 245% of your vitamin A needs for the day. It also contains more fiber than a cup of raw kale.

Fun Fact #5: Don’t forget pumpkin seeds. Each 1-ounce serving provides 7 grams of protein, which is as much as a whole egg.

5 Benefits of Pumpkin

OK, so why is it a ridiculously good idea to eat pumpkin? Here are five benefits of pumpkin that pack a nutritional punch:

  1. Heart health: The antioxidants in pumpkins can help prevent damage from the type of cholesterol that causes heart disease.  
  2. Cancer-fighting: The antioxidant beta-carotene, which gives pumpkins their orange hue, has been linked to reducing cancer risk.
  3. Brain health: Pumpkin seeds are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are vital in cognitive function and balancing mood.
  4. Muscle health: Pumpkins contain potassium, which helps nerves and muscles communicate properly.
  5. GI health: 1 cup of pumpkin has about 3 g of fiber and fewer than 50 calories. Fiber is a key part of satiety and keeps our gastrointestinal tract healthy.

Pumpkin is a great addition to any meal, and it’s versatile, too. You can use pumpkin in savory or sweet dishes.

Celebrate Fall with 6 Pumpkin Recipes

No doubt the love for pumpkin-inspired goods is strong. You can enjoy everything from pumpkin beer, pumpkin-scented candles, pumpkin desserts and even pumpkin spiced lattes. While it’s nice to smell pumpkin spice, we much prefer to eat pumpkin! Get on board with these six tasty recipes:

  1. Almond Pumpkin Pancakes with Berries
  2. Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal
  3. Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie
  4. Pumpkin Sage Pasta
  5. Pumpkin Hummus
  6. Slow Cooker Pumpkin Turkey Chili

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