One Major Effect of Eating Pumpkin, Says Dietitian
By Lekhak December 22, 2021
It's the excellent superfood for fall— or any season, for that matter.
It's a shame that pumpkin is only available during the fall season. Sure, it's a popular fall dish that's used in a variety of ways (bread, lattes, cookies, oh my!) When you consider all of the health benefits that eating pumpkin provides, it seems terrible to restrict yourself to just a few months of the year to enjoy this healthy superfood. Especially now that you know how pumpkin might help you strengthen your immunity! Isn't that enough of a reason to eat it all year round?
"Because of its lovely orange hue, pumpkin is packed with a plant pigment known as beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A in the body," says Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, founder of OnceUponAPumpkinRD.com and current author of The Great Big Pumpkin Cookbook. "Vitamin A is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and ensuring that your white blood cells (which help fight viruses) are generated and function at their best. Vitamin A is also good for our eyesight and may help us avoid some cancers."
According to the Journal of Clinical Medicine, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in the body because of its vital role in immune function.
According to Michalczyk, it doesn't take much pumpkin to receive the benefits: one cup of pumpkin has about 250 percent of your daily necessary vitamin A intake.
"It's definitely a terrific reason to enjoy the fall season and include pumpkin puree into a variety of sweet and savory recipes," Michalczyk says.
"In my opinion, one of the best things about pumpkin is how flexible it is, allowing you to add extra nutrition to your diet in a variety of ways, from baked products to savory items like pasta sauce, soups, and more."
While Michalczyk appreciates the ease of cooking with canned pumpkin puree, she also notes that when the popular gourd is in season, you may buy a pumpkin and roast it yourself.
"You can get more vitamin A by cooking pie or sugar pumpkins from your grocery store (they're roughly 2 to 4 pounds) and adding them to items like soups and salads," she advises. "Vitamin A is rich in both canned and freshly roasted pumpkins, which also contain vitamin C, E, fiber, and potassium."
After all, why should you limit your consumption of this superfood to the fall season when you can receive the tremendous health advantages of pumpkin all year long? Pumpkin Spice Latte Bread, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Pumpkin No-Bake Cookies, Frozen Pumpkin Smoothies, and Healthy Pumpkin Muffins with Spiced Maple Glaze are just a few of Michalczyk's favorite pumpkin dishes.