It’s that time of year again! We grew up with pumpkins as Halloween icons, and of course, pumpkin pie. But this autumnal squash, the symbol of the harvest, has so much more to offer our bodies.
Pumpkin's resplendent bright orange color -- on the edible inside, as well as its skin -- lets you know it’s very high in beta-carotene (vitamin A). Beta-carotene supports healthy vision and skin, among other benefits. In fact, a serving of pumpkin can provide approximately 240-250% RDA of vitamin A.
No tricks with pumpkin, but a bevy of treats that help your body function optimally: vitamins C and E; carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin; B vitamins niacin, pyridoxine, folate, thiamin and pantothenic acid; and minerals copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Pumpkins are low in calories, but high in good fiber, and they offer a healthy dose of good carbs.
But wait… there’s certainly more, as far as treats go. Those seeds are useful for more than just kids' craft projects. They’re delicious in a wide variety of ways, and also very nutritious, especially for men. They are concentrated sources of protein and provide very high amounts of iron, niacin, zinc and selenium. The latter two have been shown in research to nourish and support a healthy prostate. Oh, and eating pumpkin seeds can make you feel good… they’re a great source of tryptophan, the precursor to GABA, a "happy" neurochemical.