The holidays are here; people are stringing up Christmas lights and the sounds of the season can be heard everywhere. Pumpkins are in great abundance at this time of year, and they are adorning everything from doorsteps to thanksgiving tables.
It would be a shame to exclude the wonderful pumpkin from our smoothie efforts.
Pumpkin spice also seems to be everywhere, from the Starbucks holiday collection to my continental breakfast – and this seasonal addition is more than just spicy in flavor, it’s healthy too!
These antioxidant rich and brightly colored vegetables are high in beta carotene, provided for by its rich orange color – a dead give-away of present nutrients. Research has shown that people who eat a diet rich in beta-carotene are less likely to develop certain cancers than those who fail to include beta-carotene rich foods in their diet.
What else are pumpkins good for?
Pumkins are also loaded with Potassium. Recent studies show that people who have a potassium rich diet have a lower the risk for hypertension. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, broccoli, avocados, pomegranate and many others. Zinc, which is heavily present in pumpkin, is not only a major boost for your immune system, it also aids in bone density support for people at risk for osteoporosis.
With November in full swing, you’ll be happy to know that there have been many stories linking the pumpkin seed to a healthy prostate. What’s so special about these little green seeds?
The protective compounds present within the seed of the pumpkin, called phytosterols, could very well be responsible for shrinking the prostate. They also contain chemicals that may prevent some transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of DHT are associated with an enlarged prostate.
Unlike many of the widely used anti-inflammatory drug, pumpkin seeds do not increase damaged fat levels in the lingus joints, a common side effect associated with pharmaceutical solutions, which can contribute to the progression of arthritis.
So you see, the pumpkin is so much more than a Jack-O-Lantern or Thanksgiving table ornament – it’s another tool in your healthy living arsenal!
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
1/2 cup pumpkin (canned or freshly cooked)
1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 scoop (or approx. 2 T) vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch of ground ginger
In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth