Pumpkins are great for carving but even better for eating — they pack a punch when it comes to health benefits! You don’t need to wait until fall when grocery stores and coffee shops fill up with pumpkin-flavored items to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.
Pumpkins are high in fiber, low in sugar and fat, and contain many micronutrients the body requires to function. Below are some of the nutrients pumpkin provides:
- Vitamin A – beneficial for eye function (1 cup mashed pumpkin contains more than 200% RDI)
- Vitamin C – supports a healthy immune system
- Beta carotene – a powerful antioxidant that helps fight disease
- Fiber – helps you feel full and can aid in weight loss
- Phytosterols – can reduce “bad” cholesterol levels
- Tryptophan – an amino acid that helps calm and relax body
Adding pumpkin into baked goods is a simple way to sneak nutrients into a sweet treat that the whole family can enjoy. Pick up a can of pumpkin or find a pumpkin to steam and try this recipe:
Pumpkin Banana Muffins
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup canned pumpkin
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 425° and line a muffin tray with liners.
- In large bowl microwave butter until melted, about 15-20 seconds, then add the bananas and mash. Add the sugar and pumpkin. Stir well.
- Stir in the egg and vanilla.
- Mix in pumpkin spice, cinnamon, flour, salt, and baking soda.
- Spoon evenly into a muffin tin
- Bake for 5 minutes at 425°,
- Reduce heat to 350° and bake for 15-16 more minutes. Baking them at the higher temperature at first helps them rise and gives a nice rounded top.
- Remove from tin, allow to cool and enjoy!
Looking for other pumpkin recipes? Try this pumpkin bean soup.