Sunday, November 4, 2012

Become a Pumpkin Eater By Valerie Hould-Marchand

Halloween has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that you have to forget about fall’s iconic orange gourd. Pumpkins aren’t just for pie or decorating your front porch, they have a place in your kitchen well beyond October 31. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, both the seeds and the flesh are packed with health-boosting nutrients.

Pumpkin gets its lovely orange colour from beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant belonging to a group of pigments called carotenoids. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body, which is needed for a strong immune system, healthy skin, and eye health.

Eat the Seeds
One cup of cooked, mashed pumpkins contains just 49 calories and is virtually fat-free. Pumpkin seeds actually contain more iron than liver by weight and are a rich source of essential fatty acids. EFA’s promote healthy skin and improves brain power, and provide protection against diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and high blood pressure.

Improve Your Mood
Pumpkin flesh contains L-tryptophan, the chemical compound that triggers feelings of happiness and overall well-being. Having pumpkin as a part of your daily diet can improve your mood naturally and could be effective against depression.

The high amount of Vitamin A, C and E as well as Zinc present in pumpkin, makes it a wonderful choice for a glowing complexion. A cup of pumpkin seeds per day will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other skin problems.

So don’t wait for Halloween to carve a pumpkin- instead, bake, boil, and roast them any way you like and reap the benefits.

Here is a great pumpkin seed recipe to spice up your soups and salads.

Pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove seeds from pumpkin and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven,and toss the seeds with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, plus cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and honey. Return the seeds to the oven for about 15 minutes.
Until next time,
Heal yourself,
Heal the planet!

References :

University of Maryland Medical Center: Beta-carotene
"Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A Balch, CNC, and James F. Balch, MD; 2003