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Health Food of the month - Pumpkins

October 2018


pumpkins
Pumpkins are delicious and nutritious

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Bananas

Gooseberries

Grains


 

Diet & Supplements Index

There is more to a pumpkin than a glowing face!

It is only in the last few decades that Halloween has become such a major festival in the UK…along with the Trick and Treating and of course the glowing pumpkins on everyone’s front doorstep.

But the good thing about it is that it does mean that there are lots of pumpkins available at affordable prices in shops across the UK. With pumpkins packed with great nutrition and a warm sweet flavour, they are a great addition to anyone’s diet.

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 that may have positive effect on blood pressure.  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.

It is also worth knowing that pumpkin is an excellent source of fibre...one cup of boiled, raw pumpkin provides 2.1 g of fibre.

Even the seeds of pumpkins are good for us...they include a huge range of nutrients including vitamin K; phosphorus, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and magnesium. 

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 standalone vegetable.

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.

If you'd like to try cooking with pumpkins, have a look at our latest Baking Mad recipe or try this delicious balsamic prime rib with pumpkin gnocchi recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions.


 


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