We cannot turn around without seeing a pumpkin in a store, outdoor market, on a doorstep, or in an ad for some kind of pumpkin-flavored drink. It makes me crazy when I see pumpkins out before summer even ends. Stop rushing us...but that is another story!

Nothing says autumn like a pumpkin, but this superfood offers more than just a beloved latte flavor.  Believe it or not, a pumpkin is considered a fruit because anything that starts from a flower is botanically a fruit. In addition to being tasty,  this winter squash is packed with fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients that may protect us against certain cancers, improve our digestion and even help us sleep. Their rich orange color comes from beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A to protect our eye health.  

Here's a little-known fact, there is no pumpkin in pumpkin spice. The blend comes from cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice. Each spice has its own antioxidant benefits but for even more nutrients, try adding real pumpkin to your diet this fall.  The best way to reap the benefits of pumpkin is to skip the pumpkin-spiced sweets and try pumpkin soup, seeds, or plain roasted pumpkin slices.  Not one for scooping out the insides of a pumpkin?  Neither am I.   Here are the four biggest benefits of pumpkin and benefits of pumpkin and a link to 30 healthy pumpkin recipes.

  • Engin Akyur/Unsplash
    Engin Akyur/Unsplash

    Strengthens Eye Health

    Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment in many fruits and vegetables. B-carotene helps our heart, lungs, and kidneys. It also benefits our eyes because our body converts the pigment to vitamin A.  

  • Shaun Holloway/Unsplash
    Shaun Holloway/Unsplash

    Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals

    Pumpkins are high in vitamins C, E, A, iron, and folate, which boost the immune system and speed healing. Pumpkins are also high in potassium and plant sterols to help lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol, and improve bone health.  

  • Julien Tromeur/Unsplash
    Julien Tromeur/Unsplash

    Improves Digestion

    As a high-fiber food, pumpkin is excellent for weight loss because it allows our bodies to stay full longer and regulates digestive health. A one-cup serving of canned pumpkin packs 7 grams of fiber.  

  • Vladislav Muslakov/Unsplash
    Vladislav Muslakov/Unsplash

    Supports Better Sleep

    Pumpkin makes you sleep better because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps make serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical precursor to the main sleep hormone melatonin and not only stabilizes mood but also regulates sleep cycles.

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