Fall is upon us! Pumpkin-spiced lattes, pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving… everything Fall seems related to pumpkins. We love decorating with them, seeing them in road-side stands, using them in food; pumpkins are the ultimate festive fall experience. Yet, do we realize just how beneficial pumpkins are to our health? Seriously, pumpkin benefits abound in these gorgeous orange veggies that will make us love and crave them all the more this season.
What are the Benefits of Eating Pumpkin?
- It’s high in vitamin A. Just one cup contains over 200 percent of the recommended daily intake, which is super important for your eye health + night vision.
- It’s packed with vitamin C. Strengthen your immune system all winter (and flu season!) long by adding this veggie to smoothies, soups, baked goods and more. One cup of pumpkin contains 19 percent of the recommended daily intake.
- More potassium than a banana. There’s over 500 milligrams of potassium in a cup of canned pumpkin; that’s more than a large banana!!
- Fiber! Pumpkin will fill you up fast with 7 grams in one cup. The fiber also helps your digestion and can help lower your cholesterol.
A Nutrition Research Review study done by Cambridge University showed that when pumpkin was used on diabetic patients, it caused a drop in blood sugar levels. The study concluded that pumpkin may be used to naturally help regulate the blood sugar in Type 2 Diabetics instead of using chemical insulin.
Why is Pumpkin a Superfood?
Pumpkin contains antioxidants which help our bodies fight cancerous cells, as well as lower our risk for serious eye conditions and heart disease. This nutrient-dense veggie can help boost immunity, which we take seriously during the cold winter months when the flu feels right around the corner.
Pumpkin benefits those of us trying to shed some weight as well. Its high fiber content helps us feel full longer, and since it is 94% water, it doesn’t carry the extra carb load that can be found in other foods. It is naturally low in fat, and even the seeds of a pumpkin benefit us through their nutrient-packed shells.
Our Favorite Pumpkin Recipes
We want you to indulge in pumpkin this Fall, and we have an incredibly delicious smoothie recipe to help you do just that! The Pumpkin Maple Pecan smoothie is loaded with flavor that makes us want to wrap up in a blanket, while also giving us pumpkin benefits that will keep us well and energized going into the holiday season.
Ready for more pumpkin in your life? Check out our favorite pumpkin recipes from our blog and beyond:
Warm Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie pg. 37 Thrive Winter Reset
Autumn Bliss Smoothie Bowl pg. 235 Simple Green Smoothies Book
Pumpkin Pecan Pie Smoothie pg. 224 Simple Green Smoothies BookPrint
Fall is here! Pumpkin is everywhere so, naturally, we decided to give you another fun seasonal pumpkin smoothie to add to your “to blend” list. You’ll notice that this smoothie isn’t green – and that’s ok! Feel free to add 1-2 cups of spinach if you just can’t bring yourself to blend a smoothie without leafy greens.
1/4 cup chopped pecans, plus more for sprinkling
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy beverage*
1 cup frozen cauliflower florets**
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (can add more if preferred)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch sea salt
1. Place pecans, almond milk, and cauliflower florets into a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth. Pour into two drink containers, add the remaining chopped pecans on top, and sprinkle a few more dashes of cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Enjoy!
*It’s best to use unsweetened non-dairy milk. If you are using a sweetened version, then cut the amount of maple syrup in half.
**Frozen cauliflower (instead of fresh) has a few benefits when blending smoothies. First, it doesn’t pack the same sulfury odor and taste as its raw or cooked counterparts, making it almost undetectable in smoothie form. Second, using frozen cauliflower helps make this a cold smoothie with a creamy, milkshake-like consistency. You can use fresh cauliflower if you prefer, but try frozen if possible!