“What’s with all the pumpkin?”
You might find yourself asking this question as you see post after post online featuring the popular fall flavor. But there’s a reason pumpkin is included in tons of bread recipes and Thanksgiving desserts.
Pumpkin is not only delicious, it’s filled with nutrients. It’s low in calories, and is a great source of antioxidants, vitamin A and fiber. But beware: “Pumpkin spice” flavoring doesn’t always equate to actual pumpkin, so your favorite warm beverage may not be as healthy as you think! (Speaking of not-so-healthy recipes, check out these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting!)
Pumpkins are versatile—almost all parts of a whole pumpkin can be eaten, including the shell, seeds, leaves, and even the flowers. When ripe, a pumpkin can be baked, roasted, steamed or boiled. You can also puree and freeze pumpkin, making it a great year-round baking ingredient.
Did you know you can use pumpkin as a butter replacement in many recipes? If you don’t feel like going through the work of dealing with an entire raw pumpkin, there’s good news: canned pumpkin contains nearly all of the good nutrition that the raw fruit delivers.
Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin is one of the most impressive fruits, when considering nutritional value. Here’s a closer look at what vitamins and nutrients make it so awesome:
- Alpha-carotene—a carotenoid that converts to retinol, a form of vitamin A. This vitamin promotes healthy vision and immune health. Alpha-carotene is considered an anti-aging nutrient for good skin health because it jump-starts the skin cell renewal process and increases the production of collagen for youthful, smooth skin.
- Beta-carotene—another carotenoid that also promotes skin health
- Antioxidants—inhibit oxidative or free-radical damage.
- Vitamin C—well-known for strengthening the immune system, also promotes cardiovascular health.
- Vitamin E—promotes healthy skin by protecting the body from sun damage.
- Fiber—helps promote good digestion and gastrointestinal health. It also supports weight loss, cardiovascular health and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels already within a normal range.
- Potassium, magnesium and vitamin B5—found in the flesh of the pumpkin; provide a nutritional boost
- Vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and essential fatty acids—found in the seeds of the pumpkin (Psst…you can buy pumpkin seeds without the whole pumpkin!)
- Most people think pumpkins are vegetables. But since they contain seeds, they’re technically fruit.
- The world record for largest pumpkin was 2,009 lbs., set in 2012.
- The origin of pumpkin pie came from the method of slicing off pumpkin tops, removing seeds and filling the insides with milk, spices and honey, and then baking in hot ashes.
- Pumpkins are 90% water.
- The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which is Greek for “large melon.”
- There is a nut butter made from pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed butter.
14 Pumpkin Recipes Prove It's More than Just a Latte Flavor!