Oh, Halloween! Watching horror films, holding costume parties, children dressing up in costumes, going trick-or-treating, Halloween sweets, snacks, carving lanterns with scary faces out of pumpkins to decorate homes and gardens, creating ghoulish scenes in the yard, and so much more that I forgot to add, are all of the fun Halloween things that make the holiday look both horrible and magical. Magical and scary symbols of Halloween -ghosts, skeletons, witches, wizards, blood, bats, black cats, spiders- invite us into a spiritual world. The spooks, ghosts and walking skeletons symbolize the spirituality between the living and the dead. We turn into magical figures with costumes to have the power to contact the spirit world, like witches and wizards do. Lanterns with scary faces carved out of pumpkins become a part of this spiritual world by symbolizing light and darkness. Maybe that’s why one of the most popular symbols of Halloween is the Jack-o’-lantern. And maybe that’s why most cafés and restaurants come out with pumpkin specialties on the menu. Everyone loves eating pumpkin recipes at Halloween, don’t they? Here are 5 healthy reasons to choose pumpkin recipes in this season.
Fall is the season of the cold, flu and allergies. Food that is high in vitamins, such as pumpkin, can help you to not “fall” ill in the fall. In this season, we can boost our immunity to defeat infections through pumpkin’s highly dense nutritional content. A cup of pumpkin provides 245% of vitamin A, 19% of vitamin C, 10% of vitamin E, and 2% of vitamin K according to FDA recommended daily values (RDV). These vitamins protect us against infections and help to treat the cold and flu. That’s why fall is the season of pumpkin, too.
Minerals are responsible for maintaining fluid balance in the body. Adequate mineral intake balances the amount of water in your body and reduces water retention. Also, the pH balance of body is related to minerals. Mineral balance helps your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain to work the way they should. You can protect yourself against high blood pressure, stroke, water retention, osteoporosis, bone fractures, and muscle injuries by keeping up on your mineral balance. When it comes to RDV, a cup of pumpkin provides 16% of potassium, 11% of manganese, 11% of copper, 8% of iron, 7% of phosphorus, 6% of magnesium, 4% calcium and 4% of zinc.
The color of pumpkin comes from beta carotene, a kind of carotenoids. Besides giving its vibrant color, carotenoids are antioxidants and a precursor of vitamin A. Imbalances between free radicals and antioxidants causes oxidative stress, which is a trigger for different types of diseases. The antioxidant effects of pumpkin inhibit damage caused by free radicals in the body, protects against inflammatory conditions and diseases -such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and cancer-, and has lots of benefits for overall health.
A cup of pumpkin (245 g) includes 2.7 g of dietary fiber and it meets 11% of your daily fiber needs. Foods that are high in fiber help to regulate the digestive system. There is increased curiosity (and research) into the theory that all diseases are connected to the digestive system. Scientists are even researching connections between the digestive system and psychology. According to studies, fiber intake provides protection against inflammation, cardiovascular risks, allergies, diabetic complications, metabolic syndrome, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and kidney health. Pay attention to protecting your digestive system, and support it by eating foods high in fiber, such as pumpkin.
5. Low Calorie
Pumpkin is classified as a low-calorie food because it is 90% water. A cup of mashed pumpkin has 50 calories (44 cal comes from carbohydrates, 1.5 cal from fat and 4.5 from proteins). It may also be helpful in weight control. High volumes of pumpkin makes you feel full easily.
Let’s enjoy more healthy pumpkin recipes for the benefits that come from the nutritional value. Pumpkin kisses and harvest wishes. Happy Halloween! 🙂