As we are all aware, it's pumpkin season...I love to see all the pictures on social media of people pumpkin and apple picking, it's something I have always loved to do!
You may have also noticed all of the pumpkin flavored foods and drinks that magically appear at this time of the year, but here's the deal...these favorite fall treats are often full of sugar. Which, when talking about reducing risk of breast cancer, is something we want to be super mindful of with sugar being considered an inflammatory food.
Take a look at a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks (see their nutritional info here) for instance...50g of sugar! That's approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar in that one drink!! Whoa!!!
The solution...make your own pumpkin flavored foods and drinks so that you know exactly what is going into them...they can actually be remarkably healthy. Let's take a quick look at some of those health benefits:
1. Pumpkin is high in vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. It’s also a great source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body converts into vitamin A.
2. High antioxidant content may reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
3. Pumpkin is high in vitamins A and C, which can help boost your immune system. Its supply of vitamin E, iron and folate may strengthen your immunity as well.
4. Pumpkins’ high vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin contents may protect your eyes against sight loss, which becomes more common with age.
5. Pumpkin is packed with nutrients and yet has under 50 calories per cup (245 grams). This makes it a nutrient-dense food. It’s also a good source of fiber, which may suppress your appetite.
6. Pumpkins contain carotenoids, which function as antioxidants. These compounds are linked to lower risks of stomach, throat, pancreas and breast cancers.
7. Pumpkin is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, which have been linked to heart health benefits.
8. Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which acts as a natural sunblock. It also contains vitamins C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help keep your skin strong and healthy.
9. Pumpkin, once sliced and cut, can be easily roasted, puréed into soup or baked into pies. Its seeds are also edible and highly nutritious.
To summarize...pumpkin can be extremely beneficial to add into your diet...but be on the look out for added sugars in foods and drinks that claim to be pumpkin flavored.
Grab a fresh pumpkin or an organic canned (BPA free can) works great too. Don't forget to double check that the canned does NOT have added sugars.
Here's a healthy taste of pumpkin for you, in the super simple pumpkin spice smoothie...great in the morning or for an afternoon pick me up. Enjoy and don't forget to let me know in the comments below, how you like it!