Hello November! Now what do we do with all these pumpkins? Don’t just throw them in the trash!
Feed the wildlife: Raccoons, deer and even birds love eating pumpkins and this will help them stock up with vitamins and nutrition before the temperatures drop and the snow comes!
Domesticated animals love them too! Horses and other livestock enjoy this tasty treat. Is there a local farm near you? Contact them and ask before you punkin chunk em in their pastures.
Store them: Pumpkins can be stored cool, dark places for months!
Here are a few facts you should know about pumpkins before you stop by your local pumpkin patch or grocery store.
1. Pumpkins can help your eyesight
Pumpkins are a high source of vitamin A, which plays a significant role in eye health, according to experts.
According to Christie Gagnon – a registered dietitian at the food and lifestyle blog Hoorah to Health, the orange fruit “is packed full of vitamin A,” which is a nutrient that can “lower the risk of developing cataracts, a common cause of blindness.”
Vitamin A also helps promote “good eyesight,” according to Michelle Rauch, a registered dietician at The Actors Fund Home – an assisted-living facility in Englewood, New Jersey.
She added, “It plays an important part in forming and maintaining soft and skeletal muscle tissue, bone and mucus membranes.”
Additional compounds found in pumpkins that support vision health are lutein and zeaxanthin, two plant pigments that help to protect eyes from harmful light waves, according to WebMD.
2. Pumpkins are immunity boosters
Aside from vitamin A, pumpkins are a high source of vitamin C, which is a nutrient that has long been associated with boosting immunity.
“Vitamin C aids neutrophils, a type of immune cell, in carrying out various immune functions such as getting rid of harmful bacteria,” said Mackenzie Burgess, who is a registered dietician and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices – a food blog focused on offering simple meal solutions. “With flu season just around the corner, consuming more pumpkin may be a great way to support your immune system.”
3. Pumpkins can help you stay limber
Bananas aren’t the only fruit rich in potassium. Pumpkins can be a great source for the mineral.
“There is about 250 mg of potassium per half-cup serving of cooked pumpkin,” said Kimberly Baker, who is the director of the Clemson Extension Food Systems and Safety Program. “Potassium helps to contract muscles, regulates fluid and mineral balance within the cells of the body, and helps to maintain normal blood pressure.”
She added, “Males who are older than 19 should consume approximately 3,400 mg potassium per day, and females older than 19 should consume 2,600 mg potassium per day unless told differently by a doctor or registered dietitian.”
4. Pumpkins are helpful for weight loss
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds with a healthier diet, pumpkins could become your secret weapon.
“Pumpkin is beneficial for weight loss because it’s largely made up of water, so it is low in calories while still containing many nutrients,” Burgess said. “Try adding more pumpkin to your diet by making pumpkin soup, pumpkin oatmeal, roasted pumpkin, or pumpkin energy bites.”
5. Pumpkins boost fiber and lower cholesterol
Pumpkins are high in fiber, which has a list of benefits, including satiating hunger and lowering “bad” cholesterol (AKA low-density lipoprotein).
Other fiber-based benefits include improved bowel health and lower chances of blood sugar spiking, according to Rauch.
“Pumpkin is a good source of fiber and the pumpkin’s seeds which in addition to being delicious are rich in antioxidants and contain magnesium, iron, zinc, and manganese,” she said. “Canned pumpkin contains 7 g [of fiber] per cup.”
6. Pumpkins are rich in skin-saving antioxidants
Pumpkins are loaded with antioxidants. These molecules help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals – unstable atoms. Antioxidants neutralize these atoms, which in turn slows the aging process, according to Harvard Medical School.
One of the most prevalent antioxidants in pumpkin is beta carotene, Baker told Fox News. In her words, “Beta Carotene is an antioxidant, which can provide anti-inflammatory benefits [and] prevent aging in the skin.”
When all else fails, put some spice on them. Happy Fall y’all.