The Many Benefits Of This Favorite Fall Fruit
Not just for Jack-O-Lanterns, pumpkins provide some fine eating, as well as plenty of good nutrition. A source of fiber, Potassium, Riboflavin, and vitamins C and E, pumpkins are particularly rich in carotenoid pigments such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and Lutein. Beta-carotene, typically found in yellow and orange-colored fruits and vegetables, helps the body in numerous ways, from keeping your reproductive system functioning properly, to strengthening the immune system.
This bright orange fruit has long been a staple crop in the Americas. When the Europeans arrived and discovered that the Native Americans grew and used pumpkins, they adopted this fruit, helping to establish a culinary importance that continues today.
The flesh of the pumpkin is used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes, from pies and baked goods, to soups and casseroles. A member of the gourd family, pumpkins are freshest during the fall season. Their seeds are dark green in color and flat, and sometimes appear enclosed in a whitish-yellow husk. As versatile and delicious as the pumpkin itself, they are also incredibly healthy.
Sometimes known as pepitas, pumpkin seeds add wonderful flavor and texture to dishes, in addition to some essential vitamins and nutrients. A good source of vitamin K and protein, they contain minerals such as phosphorous, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Copper. Their benefits are numerous; pumpkin seeds are researched for their promotion of prostate health, are believed to keep bones strong and healthy, and may even help lower cholesterol.
Pumpkin seeds are a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and can be used in a variety of ways. Rinsed and lightly roasted or toasted, their healthy oils are preserved, making them a delicious, nutritious snack or ingredient for your favorite fall recipes.
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