Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Benefits of the Pumpkin

Halloween is just about here, and Thanksgiving follows soon after. During the fall season, many of us will find ourselves incorporating pumpkin into our diets (Pumpkin pie anyone?) and seasonal decor.  But while you are making those taste buds flip for joy, did you know that you are also providing your body with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails?

The pumpkin is a super food, packed with tons of vitamins,  minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids. To top it off, the amazing pumpkin is low in fat and calories. (It is, however,  very high in carbohydrates.... so if you are watching your waistline, watch your portions.) Need another excuse to chow down? I didn't think so, but I will give you one anyway! The pumpkin's high carotenoid content makes it an ally in the fight against premature aging. Yes, that's right. Sold yet?

Here is the nutritional composition of pumpkins (from an article found on

High Carotenoids Content – Pumpkins owe their bright Orange color to the high amount of carotenoids present in them. Carotenoids assist in staving off the free radicals in the body, and help in preventing premature aging, cardiovascular diseases and other infections. They are also high in Lutein & Zeaxanthin which protect the eyes against free radical damage and prevent formation of cataracts and degeneration of the eye tissues.

Protein – Pumpkin seeds also known as Pepitas are a rich source of protein. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains approx. 7 grams of protein. Their oil is high in phytosterols or plant-based fatty acids and their chemical composition is the same as cholesterol. Phytosterols can replace cholesterol in the body, and help in reducing the blood cholesterol levels.

Essential Fatty Acids – Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of essential fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits. From providing protection against serious health diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis and cancer to promoting healthy skin and improving brain power, essential fatty acids present in pumpkin oil offer several health benefits.

Vitamin A – Pumpkin is a rich source of Vitamin A. Regular consumption of pumpkin (both seeds and flesh) can promote the health of your eyes and boost your immune system remarkably.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C helps fight free radicals, improves immunity and promotes the production of collagen. The high Vitamin C content in pumpkins also offers protection against various forms of cancer.

Magnesium - Both the pulp and seeds of pumpkin are rich in magnesium, which is an important mineral required for various biological functions. Magnesium is also required for the maintenance bones and teeth.

Potassium and Zinc – Pumpkin is loaded with potassium and Zinc. Studies show that eating a potassium-rich diet can prevent onset of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Zinc is important for providing bone density support for people at risk for osteoporosis. It boosts the immune system and promotes reproductive health.

Fiber – Pumpkin flesh is very low in calories and contains abundant quantities of extremely good dietary fiber. It is extremely effective for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, indigestion etc. The high amount of fiber also helps in lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood and in regulating the blood sugar levels.

Now for the fun stuff!

In addition to being an amazing filling for pies, there are many, many recipes out there that give ode to the pumpkin.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons canola oil or corn oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans


Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 24 muffin cups or mini fluted cupcake cups. Beat sugars with oil, pumpkin puree, and eggs until well blended. Combine flour, soda, salt, and spices in a bowl; stir into the first mixture until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full (about a scant 1/3 cup of batter for each muffin cup).
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until firm. The muffin will bounce back when touched with a finger.

Makes 24 pumpkin muffins.

Yummy! Now for your lips:

Pumpkin Lip Balm

You will need:

One Tablespoon Shredded Beeswax
One Tablespoon of Coconut oil
1/8 Teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
1/8 Teaspoon of Pumpkin Seed Oil
Two Drops of Pumpkin Flavoring Oil
Microwave-Safe Container
Lip Gloss Jar

Combine beeswax, coconut oil, Vitamin E, pumpkin seed oil in a microwave-safe container.
 Microwave mixture until beeswax melts and oils meld together.
Remove from microwave. Mix with spoon and add a drop of pumpkin flavoring oil.You can buy pumpkin flavoring oil in supermarkets and on the Internet.
Pour into a clean, empty glass lip gloss jar. Allow gloss to cool before use.
 Slick on your lips with a finger or lip brush and enjoy.

And of course, for your hair:

Pumpkin Hair Masque (note:I have not personally tried this recipe. It was forwarded to me by a friend and I intend on trying it this weekend)


One cup fresh cooked pumpkin (or canned pumpkin)
Four tablespoons of coconut oil

Mix ingredients in a food processor. Apply the creamy mixture to your hair, cover with a shower cap (or plastic wrap) and leave on for 30 minutes. Wash the mix out very well, then shampoo and enjoy your shiny new hair!

Do you have any favorite pumpkin recipes that you would like to share? Send me an email with your recipe, and I will build a compilation of recipes for us. :)

1 comment:

  1. That is so interesting! I had no idea the pumpkin can be used in so many ways!


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