It’s Pumpkin Spice Season: Health Benefits of Pumpkin
It’s Pumpkin Spice Season!!
YES, I am one of those crazy people that cannot wait for fall and thus pumpkin spice season. While it may be more common (and socially acceptable) to consume pumpkin items in the fall, I do admit I usually make a few pumpkin things throughout the year too.
I LOVE pumpkin anything! I know not everyone feels the same but my main reasons for being a pumpkin freak are:
- I absolutely love ginger and cinnamon, so pumpkin spice is just one of my favorite spices overall
- I absolutely CRAVED pumpkin stuff when I was pregnant. I have no idea why, but since then I’ve been even more obsessed with pumpkin.
- Most of the pumpkin items are so much fun to make: pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin hot cocoa… and so on. It’s so versatile.
- It’s delicious! Like a recent meme said: “you either love pumpkin spice or you are wrong!” Just kidding! (Sort of).
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
I am a nutritionist so of course I have other reasons why I love pumpkin so much. It really is a true healthy food. Here are some huge health benefits of pumpkin:
- Rich in carotenoids , which can be converted into true vitamin A (if you have the ability). I don’t usually depend on fruits or veggies for that conversion, but beta carotenes are also important for your health.
- Pumpkin is a GREAT source of fiber. It can help with digestive issues, especially chronic constipation. It is also a popular remedy for cats and dogs for constipation!
- The seeds are a very nutrient dense snack. They are packed with minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc plus other nutrients like tryptophan (yes, that’s the same tryptophan that is in turkey that makes you sleepy! Tryptophan is what turns to GABA in the brain- consuming foods that stimulate production is the best way to heal, instead of taking these supplements in isolation).
- Pumpkin puree is actually a great source of potassium too- a mineral that many of us need a lot more of.
Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin
So I know that the most popular pumpkin item is often that pumpkin spice latte at that huge chain of coffee shops. Instead of supporting a place that has drinks with a whopping 50mg of processed sugar, why not branch out and start some new fall traditions?
Most of the recipes you find on the back of the cans of pumpkin will have massive amounts of sugar. I highly recommend looking on Pinterest for searches like “clean eating pumpkin recipes” or “real food pumpkin” to get some healthier options. I am not a sugar hater by any means- moderation is key though, and some of these popular recipes just use WAY too much.
Here are some great natural pumpkin spice recipes I have found:
- Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal breakfast bars (gluten free)
- Banana Pumpkin Cookies
- Whole Spelt Pumpkin Muffins (I’ve made these many times over the last few years!)
- Paleo Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Spiced Bulletproof Latte
- AND of course- you can make your own Pumpkin Spice Syrup for your lattes! I found this one that looks amazing that I will likely try: Healthier Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup.
I also made a new Pinterest board to save more recipes for just pumpkin, so be sure to follow over there for more ideas: