Hold that whipped cream. Who says the only way to enjoy pumpkin is in pie?
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Fall’s great gourd is so healthy for you that it shouldn’t be reserved just for Thanksgiving dinner. According to Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, a dietitian in Cleveland Clinic’s Section of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation, pumpkin is good for your:
- Eyesight and immune system. That’s thanks to vitamin A, which is naturally packed into pumpkin. Eating a single (1 cup) serving of pumpkin can provide 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of the vital nutrient.
- Heart. Pumpkin’s potassium and antioxidants can help prevent heart disease – as well as some cancers.
- Cholesterol. Plant sterols in pumpkin seeds can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. So can the omega 3 fatty acids, which help lower triglycerides (blood fats) and blood pressure.
- Weight. Pumpkin is easy on your waistline, with only 50 calories per cup. The same portion also provides 3 grams of fiber, which can keep you feeling fuller longer.
Ways to roll pumpkin into your everyday diet
Rolling pumpkin into your everyday diet isn’t hard. Julia recommends you:
- Roast pumpkin in the oven for a side dish.
- Stir pureed or canned pumpkin into soups or sauces (even tomato sauce) to thicken them. Pumpkin can even replace fats or carbohydrates in your recipes.
- Substitute pumpkin for fat or oil in breads, muffins and pancakes.
- Add pumpkin to plain or vanilla yogurt with some pumpkin spice and a dab of honey.
- Mix pumpkin into a smoothie.
- Toast pumpkin seeds to top a salad or roasted vegetables.