By Kevin Dietmeyer, a Nutrition Communication student at Arizona State University
When it comes to pumpkins and fall, Peanuts and pie come to mind. I’m speaking, of course, of the great American classic Peanuts animation and pumpkin in the format of pie. Pumpkin pie would never be complete without a whopping dollop of freshly whipped cream perched on top of a freshly removed slice from the oven. I grew up on pumpkin pie this time of year and although pie isn’t closely associated with optimizing health, there are some powerful nutrients that come along with its primary ingredient.
Pumpkin and its close cousin, the winter squash, are thriving during the fall season and that makes it a great time to add a little nutritional pumpkin power to your day. Pumpkins pack a powerful punch and they have some hidden nutritional benefits that you may not expect.
One of the best indicators of the presence of Vitamin A is the yellow-orange coloration that can be found in foods like carrot, winter squash and of course, pumpkin.
Why should you be so concerned about adding a little Vitamin A to your diet?
Foods high in Vitamin A have been shown to…
- Protect against certain types of cancers
- Promote eye health
- Strengthen the immune system
One serving of pumpkin provides 12231 IU, or 245% daily value of Vitamin A and that also comes with 2.7g of fat-fighting fiber1. Fibrous foods are often the most nutrient-dense and they fend off those pesky cravings. Pumpkin also contains a whopping 564mg of electrolyte refueling Potassium in every serving, about 16% daily value making pumpkin a great post-workout recovery choice2.
If protection against cancer, healthy eyes, a strong immune system, a tighter mid-section and potassium-powered recovery seem beneficial to you, then throw pumpkin into the mix. Actually, a mix is how I would suggest you get started with this blended pumpkin treat.
Powerful Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Add liquid to your blender, followed by fruit and finally all of your greens. Blend until smoothie is creamy and add a little liquid if it’s too thick.
1 cup raw pumpkin or 1/2 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 cup mango
Fist full of cashews
1 Tsp vanilla
1 Tsp cinnamon
2 cups spinach
8-10 ounces almond milk
If you liked this post:
- Beyond Pumpkin: Harvest the Health Benefits of Winter Squash. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter [serial online]. November 2014;32(9):6. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 7, 2016.
- Nutrition Data: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2601/2 Retreived on 10/7/16.
Kevin Dietmeyer began helping others make dramatic changes in their health with individualized personal training and coaching in 2008. He believes in building a long-term strategy for success for each individual and that nutrition and exercise aren’t a one-size-fits-all prescription.
After years of competitive tennis as a highly ranked junior in the southwest, Kevin crossed into health and fitness as a profession. He has a passion for endurance sports and has competed in more than thirteen half marathons and trail marathons. Kevin is also a triathlete who has experience running Olympic distance triathlons including the Nautica Malibu Triathlon and half iron distance events like the Ironman Raleigh 70.3.
Kevin is a student of Nutrition and Communication with Arizona State University graduating in the fall of 2016. He is a certified personal trainer with credentials from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). He also carries a certification in Fitness Therapy with the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) and Stretching Principles with the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT).