Whether you take a hay ride through a pumpkin patch or stumble upon them at your local farmers market, you are bound to find a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Pumpkins are not only one of the most versatile fruits in the squash family, but they’re also packed with a variety of antioxidants, micronutrients, and mood enhancers!
You may have seen a vibrant orange pumpkin and thought to yourself, how gourdgeous! Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they also offer a generous amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural substances found in varieties of food that can prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and is responsible for giving pumpkins their deep orange pigment.
Pumpkin seeds aren’t the only thing these gourds are packed with! Pumpkins also contain high amounts of micronutrients, including vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium. Once beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, it can play an important role aiding in vision, bone growth, and regulation of the immune system.
Whether you enjoy pumpkin seeds roasted or toasted, you’re sure to benefit from the magnesium and potassium content they provide. Did you know, magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in our body and a cofactor for more than 300 metabolic reactions? Magnesium aids in cellular energy production and storage, DNA and RNA synthesis (genetics at work); magnesium also helps to alleviate muscle cramps and constipation. Potassium isn’t too shabby either! It can assist in proper heart function, muscle contraction, and protein synthesis. Together, the micronutrients in pumpkin seeds can aid in body maintenance and regulation.
Looking for ways to spice up these hidden gems? Pumpkin seeds are versatile and can be added to several fall recipes or even enjoyed on their own. Checkout All Recipes for the juicy details!
Get ready to pump up the jam with pumpkins! All jokes aside, pumpkins are loaded with the mood boosting amino acid, tryptophan, which converts to serotonin in the body. Serotonin helps to regulate mood (happiness) and anxiety. This key hormone can also help with sleeping and proper digestion. So if you find yourself feeling exceptionally happy while snacking on a pumpkin seed muffin, serotonin may be responsible.
Extra Pumpkin, Please
Next time you’re looking for a festive snack, we encourage you to experiment with pumpkins! Here at the Eating & Body Image Therapy Center, we believe all foods fit. Have a fun fall recipe you would like to share? Feel free to connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org