Pumpkins Pay Big Health Dividends
Pumpkins are oftentimes associated with the fall season, but this stand-out super-food is an excellent ingredient to use year round in both savory and sweet dishes.
The beautiful orange unique globe shaped squash is low in calories with only 83 calories per cup and provides us with an abundance of disease-fighting nutrients including potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, vitamins C (17% of your daily requirement in just one cup) and E and a wealth of fiber. This helps to keep us to feeling full and satisfied.
Foods with an abundance of carotenoids have been linked to a long list of disease-fighting, health promoting activities and pumpkins are one of those and likely the reason that pumpkins rank high on the super-foods list.
Containing one of the richest supplies of bio-available carotenoids known just ½ cup serving pumpkin supplies you with more than two times the daily dietary requirement of alpha-carotene and 100% of the daily recommended intake of beta-carotene (a pro-vitamin that converts to vitamin A) in the body.
Carotenoids are yellow or deep orange-red colored, fat soluble compounds found in a variety of plants. Scientists have identified about 600 carotenoids
In fact, studies show that women with the highest concentrations of carotenes in their diets had the lowest risk of breast cancer. Carotenoids have also been shown to decrease the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and lower rates of heart disease.
This super nutrient food has even proven effective against anxiety and depressed moods. It helps ensure a healthy mood and a good night’s sleep.
Pumpkins contains less sugar and starch than all the other starchy veggies. They are extremely versatile and play successful roles in both sweet and savory dishes.
They can be supportive players or they can assume the starring role. They add color, texture, and flavor to any dish.
You can find them canned, fresh or frozen. Like other super foods, to gain the most from their amazing health benefits its best to enjoy them as close to their original whole form as possible.
And, don’t forget to take advantage of the super health benefits of roasted or raw dried pumpkins seeds!
If you are ready to take your high calories desserts and turn them into “life giving” desserts you’ll love “50 Desserts with Hidden Veggies. ” In it you will discover no bake, Paleo friendly, no sugar, gluten free healthy sweet treat and dessert recipes…
Here’s a great gluten and sugar free dessert and treat recipe to try:
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup dates, soaked for 30 minutes then drained
- ¼ cup coconut oil, warmed until melted
- 1 tablespoon cocoa or cacao powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place almonds into a food processor and process until broken down and crumbly. Add dates, cocoa powder, coconut oil and vanilla essence and process until well combined. Press this mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan or dish.
- 1½ cups cashews
- ½ cup pumpkin puree or raw pumpkin blended until smooth in a high speed blender
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
Place cashews into food processor and process until broken down and crumbly.
Add pumpkin puree, honey and spices and process until mixture is smooth and creamy.
Pour over the base spreading it evenly.
Place in freezer for a couple of hours to firm up.
Cut into squares before serving.
Carolyn Hansen is the author of The Blended Bites Healthy Snack and Dessert Recipe Collection. This is a one-stop resource for delicious, healthy, guilt-free snacks that you can eat every day. And even better, EVERY ONE of these recipes are RAW healthy snack foods that taste as good as their fattening counterparts.
You can NOW satisfy your snack urge without any negative impact on your weight loss and fitness goals, and without sweating over a hot stove. These easy-to-prepare snacks contain no sugar, no flour or butter and are paleo friendly.
So, if you want to get your hands on recipes for desserts and snacks that you will not need to feel guilty about eating the next time you have a craving for something delicious, be sure to check out Carolyn Hansen’s books at Blended Bites, where she will show you how to take control of your blender and churn out mouth-watering desserts and snacks that will have the kids in your neighborhood lined up around the block for a sample.