Is Pumpkin a Superfood, Too?
“Superfood” is a common buzzword, but what does it really mean? Well, there’s one thing that various superfoods tend to have in common: they’re nutritionally dense. And pumpkin is no exception! Learn more about the nutritional potential of fall’s superfood: the beloved pumpkin.
What is a Superfood?
How do you know a superfood when you see one? These foods contain high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Kale, for example, contains 684% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin K for adults. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocado, could help prevent heart disease. Fiber from whole grains can ease digestive problems and reduce the risk of diabetes.
Though superfoods are often plant-based, some dairy and fish are considered rich enough in nutrients to garner the superfood title. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for example. Other foods that pack a punch in the nutrition department include kale, sweet potatoes, spinach, berries, beans and whole grains. The best part is that you’ll likely find these foods in any supermarket or grocery store — no special trip to the farmer’s market necessary.
Pumpkin: Fall’s Superfood
Pumpkins often bring to mind fall bonfires, hay bale rides, and seasonal desserts — but some people miss pumpkin’s potential as a superfood. Luckily, along with the jack o’ lantern and pumpkin spice hype, you’ll find that it offers you a number of nutrients!
Take one glance at a pumpkin’s bright orange color, and you’ll see the source of its beta-carotene, also found in carrots. Your body uses beta-carotene and converts it to vitamin A, which is important for eye health. Vitamin A helps your retina process and absorb light. Just one cup of pumpkin provides you with more than 200% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A.
While your body uses the Vitamin A in pumpkin to protect your eye health, that beta-carotene can also help ward off the sun’s damaging UV rays. You can even use pumpkin as a face mask that both soothes and exfoliates.
If you’re looking for an easy (and tasty!) way to increase your fiber intake, keep this in mind the next time you’re looking for superfood recipes: pumpkin packs seven grams of fiber in a single cup! That’s more than a couple of slices of whole-grain bread. Fiber helps slow down your digestion, which helps you feel “full” for a longer period of time. If you’re trying to lose weight, those longer periods of fullness can be very beneficial.
Pump Up Immunity
Pumpkin arrives at just the right time of the year. As people begin spending more time inside and kids are back in school, illnesses begin to pop up all over the place. Give your immune system a boost with some pumpkin! Not only does the vitamin A help keep sickness at bay, pumpkin contains vitamin C that could reduce the duration of a cold. There are many ways to incorporate pumpkin into your routine. Make pumpkin bread instead of banana bread, or opt for a smoothie swirled with pumpkin.
For flu shots or flu tests this fall and winter, visit your local CareSpot Urgent Care. Walk in, call ahead or schedule an appointment online.