Fall is here! With it comes two words… pumpkin spice.
Many diabetics may think that due to high blood sugar, they can’t enjoy this delicious fall flavor. It’s true that the now-infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte is out of the question (with a whopping 50 grams of sugar in a medium-sized serving!)
The great news is that pumpkin is actually quite good for your health, and can be enjoyed in a variety of low-carb ways!
Let’s begin by reviewing some of the reasons pumpkin is so good for you.
One cup of cooked pumpkin contains double your daily minimum intake of vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial not only for healthy eyes, but also for skin, hair, and bone growth.
In close relation to vitamin A is the beta-carotene that gives the pumpkin its beautiful orange color. New research is revealing that beta-carotene may give the pumpkin possible cancer-fighting properties!
These same cancer-fighting antioxidants (carotenoids) also help to keep skin healthy and reduce the formation of wrinkles, leading to a more youthful appearance.
Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber! This makes it an especially ideal ingredient for diabetics, as fiber helps to maintain lower blood sugar.
The seeds of the pumpkin contain phytosterols, naturally occurring chemicals that reduced LDL/”bad” cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan, an amino acid crucial to the production of serotonin – the happiness hormone.
Along with a more positive outlook, pumpkin also offers and energy boost. One cup of cooked pumpkin packs more of a potassium-punch than even the famous banana! This potassium also helps muscles recover from physical activity, and keeps them going strong.
Believe it or not, pumpkin is a great source of vitamin C. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains over 10 grams of vitamin C, nearly a fourth of the daily recommended amount! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It is an immune booster and promotes wound healing.
Vitamin C also lowers levels of sorbitol, (a form of sugar that can build up in the body and damage cells in your nerves, eyes, and kidneys.) One study also showed that Vitamin C is rapidly lost in the bodies of those with diabetes. This means diabetics need more Vitamin C than the average person in order to reap the benefits.
Keep in mind that these health benefits are available from freshly cooked pumpkin. Be wary of canned pumpkin, as it can contain added sugars. Stay far away from canned pumpkin pie filling as it is packed with sugar.
Now that you’re ready to start reaping the health benefits of this seasonal favorite, check out these recipes!
Guilt-Free Pumpkin Bars
Just 4 net carbs make these a year round treat, but you’ll love the Pumpkin Bars at Thanksgiving!
Savory and sweet with a little spice, Rachel Ray’s recipe for Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish is sure to be a hit!
For the perfect low-carb fall dessert, it doesn’t get much better than this Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie.
Could it be true? Yes, pumpkin fries are real… and really delicious! Don’t miss this quick and easy recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Fries.
On a cool fall day, nothing beats a hot bowl of chili! This recipe for flavorful Turkey Pumpkin Chili will warm you from the inside out.
Roasted garlic and rosemary pumpkin hummus! Serve with fresh veggies like bell pepper slices, celery, or zucchini for dipping.
Yum! We hope this article has helped you consider pumpkin to be a fun, seasonal ingredient that tastes great in many different recipes. Now get out there, and get your pumpkin on!