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Superfood Spotlight: Pumpkin

Today I want to share with you some of the many benfits and uses for pumpkins. I realize pumpkins are most often associated with Halloween, but they are too good to just carve out and then let rot away on your porch. This signature autumn fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) is great for your skin, your eyes, fighting cancers, and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Pumpkin’s bright orange color is an indicator that it’s a rich source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for immunity, maintains skin and mucus membranes, has anti-aging properties, and is essential for good eye sight. Pumpkin is also a rich source of fiber and many other nutrients, including potassium and magnesium. Potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes, keeps muscles functioning at their best, and maintains healthy bones.

Pumpkin seeds are also super healthy, so the next time you carve out a Jack O’Lantern or make a pumpkin pie from scratch, make sure you keep those seeds and put them to good use! Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc, which is important for prostate health, arthritis, and bone strength. They are also a good source of manganese, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E.

Here are a few recipes to get the most out of the whole pumpkin!

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
  2. 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (from a can)
  3. 1 frozen banana
  4. 2 tsp. chia seeds
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  7. hefty pinch each of ground ginger and nutmeg
  8. 1-2 tsp. raw cocoa powder (optional, but sooo good)
  9. pinch orange zest
  10. 2-4 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. This recipe makes about 16 oz, enough for two small smoothies, or just drink the whole thing yourself (which is what I did).
Sweet Serenity http://sweetserenity.org/
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DIY Pumkin Face Mask: Have you ever heard the saying “If you wouldn’t eat it, then don’t put it on your skin”? Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and anything you rub on it is absorbed into the bloodstream, and then into your cells and organs. Good thing this face mask is totally edible!

Pumpkin makes an excellent face mask ingredient for all skin types, especially environmentally damaged or sensitive skin. High in vitamin A (skin healing), C (antioxidant) and zinc, the pumpkin soothes, moisturizes and acts as a carrier, assisting the other mask ingredients to absorb deeper into the skin and intensifying the results.

Give your skin this healing mask for a healthy glow!

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. nutmeg

Just mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Use the back of a spoon to apply to your face, and leave on for 15-20 minutes. It might get a little messy, so do it over the sink. Store the excess mixture in the fridge and use within one week.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Simply scoop the seeds out of your pumpkin and rinse them well. Once the seeds are rinsed of pumpkin pulp, lay them out to dry on a large cookie sheet. Roasting the seeds is best done on a low oven temperature between 170 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Studies show that keeping the roasting temperature low preserves the full nature of the seeds’ healthy fats.

1 cup pumkin seeds

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

Mix all the ingredients well over the seeds and spread on baking sheet. Roast the seeds for 20 minutes.

What are your favorite ways to use pumpkin? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!

 

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