5 Reasons to Eat Pumpkin During Flu Season

We are eight months into the pandemic, and studies are saying our executive functioning skills are overloaded and our surge capacity to adapt in stressful situations has maxed out. We’re exhausted but still longing for healthy habits.

What’s helping you right now? What’s getting you through? For many of us, it’s helpful tips or a simple formula that lightens the load and guides us down a healthier path.

As flu season approaches, embrace the holidays by enhancing your diet with pumpkin-infused meals. This nutrient-packed source of health benefits will replenish your body while aiding in the maintenance of excellent oral health. Here’s how.

Vitamin C

Did you know that just one serving of pumpkin has one-fifth of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, the number one immune system-boosting nutrient? What better way to ramp up your vitamin C intake during flu season than by adding a scoop of pumpkin puree to your smoothies and shakes? And when it comes to your oral health, vitamin C strengthens your mouth’s soft tissues and protects it against infections and gum disease.

Beta-carotene

Our bodies turn beta-carotene into vitamin A which acts as an antioxidant, protecting us from heart disease, eye problems, and certain cancers. Potent in power, a cup of pumpkin contains over 200% of our recommended daily vitamin A intake. Like vitamin C, vitamin A fights oral infections, but it also aids in saliva production, preventing dry mouth and cleansing our teeth, protecting them from decay.

Fiber

Most of us are not getting our recommended daily intake of 25-30 grams of fiber, but adding one cup of canned pumpkin to your diet gets you more than 7 grams closer to your goal. And roasted pumpkin seeds are rich in protein and fiber as well. Fiber helps us maintain a healthy body weight which reduces our chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, and gum disease.

Zinc

Pumpkin is rich in Zinc, another immune system booster. It’s particularly effective in the realm of oral health, keeping bones, teeth, and gums strong and healthy. Pumpkin is especially effective for those who suffer from bleeding gums.

Magnesium

This understated mineral works miracles in our bodies every day, helping keep our blood pressure normal and our bones and heart strong. Magnesium also partners with calcium to make the enamel of our teeth stronger, harder, and tougher as it fights decay. Without a doubt, we should all be adding magnesium-rich pumpkin into our meals each day. But how?

Nutrient-Packed Pumpkin Recipes

Read on for simple pumpkin recipes that take little effort to prepare but pack a healthy punch of vitamins and minerals that we need more than ever right now.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Once you’ve gutted your pumpkin and readied it for jack-o-lantern status, set all the pumpkin seeds aside to be roasted as soon as you’re done carving. Turn on your oven to 300 degrees F, so it can be preheating. Toss 1½ cups of seeds with 2 teaspoons of melted butter and a hefty pinch of salt and spread the mixture in a single layer on your baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes but come around every so often to give the seeds a gentle stir. This will ensure they each turn a well-rounded golden brown.

Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oats

Prepare this tasty breakfast before you go to bed by mixing the following in a mason jar.

½ cup plain yogurt

½ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup old-fashioned oats

2 tablespoons of sugar

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

Cover and refrigerate this single-serving until morning. Eat cold like a slice of leftover pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Dump the following into your blender and press pulse. Enjoy this icy treat in the heat of the afternoon or as your wake-up drink in the morning. Double it if you want to share it with a family member.

¼ cup pumpkin puree

½ cup milk (or soy, oat, almond, etc.)

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg and ginger

A handful of ice cubes

 

 

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