The Humble Pumpkin - A Superfood Super Star
As an epigenetic personalized wellness coach, I am always interested in foods that provide high nutritional value. The humble pumpkin is one of those foods that not only have impressive nutrition benefits but unlike many foods considered "super-foods," isn't a costly item.
Roasted pumpkin is one of my favorite dishes that pack a punch of nutrients while satisfying the need for healthy carbs. If I'm busy multitasking, as a time saver I cut a pumpkin in half (skin on), add a little water to the bottom of a shallow dish, and pop it in the oven to cook. The skin may get slightly burnt outside, but it keeps all the flavor and moisture in while cooking, plus makes the whole process easier. Roasting veggies brings out the sweetness and is a delicious way to save monitoring time when busy. The actual cooking time may take a bit longer, but once in the oven, you can leave it until it's ready with little fussing. Buying pre-cut organic chunks of pumpkin is even easier. These can be spread onto a dish and left to cook, sprinkled with a bit of olive (or another healthy oil). Once cooked, scoop the pumpkin out of the skin, dice or cut it into chunks, and season.
Here are some of the nutritional properties that make this an excellent super food to include into your diet.
It has anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, joint pain or digestive inflammation.
It contains beta carotene that can protect skin that is pale or lighter in color from sun damage.
It provides an excellent source of plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients that are important for maintaining a strong immune system as the cold and flu season approaches.
The seeds contain good amounts of natural tryptophan which can help sleep quality.
Cucurbitacins are glycoside molecules found in the squash family that contributes to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
To help gain some mass, it's a good source of healthy carbs.
The combination of this rich source of vitamin A and zea-xanthin provide an excellent protection for the eyes.
It contains a good mix of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus that can help keep joints and tissues healthy.
Pumpkin is rich in carotenoids which are excellent antioxidants and maintains its antioxidant rich properties at moderate heat or even when frozen.
Buy organic when you can.
For a simple fast dish try steaming or roasting the pumpkin, then adding some freshly cracked pepper, sea salt and olive or coconut oil drizzled over it to finish it off.
For a deeper flavor profile try seasoning with dried or fresh herbs like chives, spring onions, roasted garlic or spices like cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For added texture, try adding seeds or nuts like sesame, chia, roasted pumpkin seeds, walnuts or pecans.
Love & Blessings