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Planning Retirement Online

Food of the month - Pumpkins

September 2014

Look out! Pumpkins will soon be popping up in the shops and at your local farmers’ markets but you need to get in quickly. Halloween has become a major celebration here in the UK now, a big change from our childhood when it was rarely mentioned, and all the biggest and best pumpkins are quickly snaffled up in good time to be cut into scary faces for October 31st.

But of course pumpkins are much better used in the kitchen to make a fabulous array of tasty and also nutritious meals and these days they are often available all year round which means you can include them on a regular basis.

Pumpkins are of course very tasty and versatile; with their sweet earthy taste they can be used in a range of great dishes from soups to pumpkin pie plus of course as a stand alone vegetable.

But on the goodness side, they really score! For a start, like carrots they are high in valuable antioxidant beta-carotene. This is a plant carotenoid which helps to convert vitamin A. They also contain good levels of potassium, an essential mineral. Bananas are recognised for their high levels of potassium but pumpkins offers even more!

Then pumpkins contain beta-cryptoxanthin. This doesn’t flow easily off the tongue but nevertheless it is worth talking about. Pumpkins contain some of the highest levels of this carotenoid which can be very useful in reducing the risk of developing inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Add in the fact that pumpkin is also a good source of vitamins C, K and E plus minerals such magnesium and iron, and it is clear that pumpkins are a lot more than a fun decoration.

Even the seeds of pumpkins are loaded with minerals.

But of course, as with so many things that taste great, there is a downside! Pumpkins, especially if boiled in salty water, can score very highly on the GI index, meaning it can convert into sugar quickly and is not the most efficient source of fuel for the body. But to offset that, pumpkin has a low carbohydrate value which offsets the high GI value; so this isn’t really a factor people on normal diets need to consider.

 

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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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