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October Health Tips: Pumkin Season

I do not know about you, but when I think of fall I think of pumpkins!

This month I would like to share some nutrition tips and recipes all about pumpkins. Pumpkins provide many nutrients from its flesh to its seeds. The flesh is very low in calories and it contains beta-carotene, a natural antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A which is important for skin and eye health and immunity, viamin E, and fiber. The seeds are high in protein, healthy mono- and poly- unsaturated fats, zinc, and iron. Hopefully, now when you see a pumpkin, you will think of the health benefits this fall favorite can provide!

Fresh or Canned?

When cooking pumpkin, you can either use fresh or canned. Canned pumpkin typically comes in a puree formed and you can use it to make soups, muffins, and pies. When using a fresh pumpkin, you must cook the pumpkin first; Simply cut the pumpkin in half and bake in the oven, flesh side down, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until flesh is tender, 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Scrape out the flesh from thee rind and use as desired. Fresh and canned pumpkin generally have the same nutrient content, so the choice of fresh or canned depends on your preference.

Try fresh or canned pumpkin in this easy Creamy Pumpkin Soup recipe to warm up during a chilly night, or try this Pumpkin Bar recipe for you next holiday party!

Don’t Forget the Seeds

If you plan on carving pumpkins this year, don’t throw out the seeds! Pumpkin seeds contain protein, healthy mono and poly unsaturated fats, and some fiber. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a breeze to make and they are a healthy snack.

To roast fresh pumpkin seeds:

1) Wash off any residue from the flesh, then pat dry.

2) Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and spread the seeds evenly on the try.

3) Lightly spray the seeds with non-stick spray and lightly sprinkle sea salt on top (1 tsp or so).

4) Bake seed in an oven at 300 degrees F for 40 minutes or until golden. Then ENJOY!

Enjoy in oatmeal, on a salad, or on its own!

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