Pumpkins could be the holiday solution to an overall healthy heart and boost your body’s immune system. When you think about pumpkins, what comes to mind? Jack-o’-lanterns? Pumpkin pie? Charlie Brown? Spice lattes? Well, there’s more to these orange gourds than Halloween desserts and drinks. Pumpkins have numerous health benefits — none of which take center stage in autumn’s most frequent offerings.
Resilience and abundance
Pumpkins are an iconic American holiday staple. Pumpkin pie is found at most Thanksgiving tables. The first pumpkin pie recipe appeared in American Cookery in 1976 and pumpkins quickly rose to national fame in 1863 when President Lincoln named the fourth Thursday of every November, Thanksgiving. Over the course of October and November, American farmers grow more than one billion pounds of pumpkin every year in preparation for the fall season.
Pumpkins are orange fruits packed full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, and Fiber. A serving contains around 50 calories, is 94% water, contains 2g of protein and 12 g of carbohydrates. The holiday food also boosts your body’s immunity, improves heart health, and reduces your risk of heart disease.
Pumpkin boosts immunity
Looking for a way to ward off illness and improve your immune system? Pumpkin is packed full of Vitamin A, which is fantastic for your vision and your immune system. It also contains the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Just one cup of pumpkin contains over 200% of your daily dose of Vitamin A. This helps your body fight infections, viruses, and infectious diseases.
This orange fruit is also packed with nearly 20% of the recommended amount of daily vitamin C, which helps reduce cell damage, prevents chronic disease, and helps manage high blood pressure. This is a fantastic holiday staple that you shouldn’t leave off your healthy holiday menu.
Eating pumpkin is good for the heart. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in pumpkins all support heart health. Studies suggest that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium in the treatment of high blood pressure. One cup of pumpkin contains 16% of your recommended daily potassium. High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, so decreasing this risk factor is extremely important for staying healthy.
A great source of fiber
The fiber keeps you energized. One cup of pumpkin has about 7 grams of fiber, which is about 20% of the recommended daily amount. This fiber fills you up faster and makes you feel full for longer. One cup of pumpkin is only about 50 calories, so pumpkin can fill you up fast with very little caloric intake. The fiber content of pumpkin will help stabilize blood sugar, protect your heart, maintain your digestive tract, and keep your energy up throughout the day.
This autumn staple that you can’t escape has a range of fantastic benefits. Incorporating more pumpkin into our Thanksgiving and holiday meals will benefit our hearts, blood sugar and immune systems. Follow the recipe below for delicious pumpkin soup or check out Delight Magazine for more pumpkin-filled recipes.
This vegan pumpkin soup ticks all the boxes! Its rich, creamy and ultimately satisfying. And best of all, it’s super easy, and ready in 30 minutes or less!
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil or other oil
- 1 Medium Onion White, Yellow or Brown, chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic crushed
- 1 tsp Ginger minced or finely chopped
- 1 tsp Thyme
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 9 cups Pumpkin (2.2lb) peeled and cubed
- 14 ounce Can Coconut Cream, Unsweetened
- 1 and ½ cups Vegetable Stock/Broth
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Add the coconut oil to a pot with the chopped onion, garlic and ginger and sauté.
- Then add the thyme and cayenne pepper and sauté until the onions are softened.
- Add in the coconut cream and vegetable stock and the pumpkin and bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat and simmer until the pumpkin is soft and cooked (around 10 minutes).
- Use an immersion blender to blend it smooth inside the pot. If you haven’t got an immersion blender, then transfer to a blender jug in stages and blend until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with some pumpkin seeds as garnish (optional).