It’s that time of year again… for pumpkin pies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin smoothies, and pumpkin everything! If you’re a super fan of pumpkins, then fall is definitely your season. Not only does this amazing fall fruit taste delicious, but you may not even realize all the impressive health benefits it offers.
As if you needed another reason to love it, this article will go over the nutritional value of pumpkin and how it benefits your body. Believe it or not, the antioxidants in this super-fruit may even help you fight off some of those nasty winter colds on the way!
Plus, we’ll share a few of our favorite pumpkin protein shake recipes to make your season that much more delicious. Let’s take a look at some major potential pumpkin benefits, ranging from boosted immunity to heart health support and more.
Pumpkin Health Benefits
High in Nutrients
Pumpkins contain an impressive line-up of essential vitamins and minerals – including being one of the best sources of beta carotene. Once consumed, your body turns beta carotene (which is a carotenoid) into vitamin A.
In fact, one cup of cooked pumpkin contains 245% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin A! It also contains 19% of the RDI for vitamin C, 16% for potassium, and 11% for copper, manganese, and Vitamin B12.
Helps Boost Immunity
Pumpkins are also high in nutrients that help fortify your immune system. For starters, the vitamin A we just talked about could help boost immunity and fight infections. In studies, those with a deficiency in this important nutrient were shown to have a weaker immune system.
In addition, the vitamin C found in pumpkin can help increase white blood cell production and help immune cells work more efficiently. Plus, pumpkins also contain vitamin E, iron, and folate to support enhanced immunity.
Contains Disease-Fighting Properties
Pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants (including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin). These antioxidants could help protect your cells against potential damage by free radicals. These free radicals are “unstable molecules” that can damage the cells in your body in excessive amounts. But pumpkin contains properties that could help counteract these effects, helping to fight off sickness and disease.
Protects Healthy Eyesight
Pumpkin also contains nutrients that are invaluable for protecting your healthy eyesight as you get older. For instance, research shows that vitamin A deficiency is a common cause of blindness. And, as discussed, pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which creates vitamin A. In addition, pumpkin is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin – both of which are linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.
May Assist with Weight Loss
When it comes to pumpkin nutrition, this fruit is jam-packed with essential nutrients while also staying low in calories – which can assist with your weight loss goals. Pumpkin has just 50 calories per cup and is about 94% water. In addition, it’s packed with fiber, so it can help keep you full and suppress your appetite.
Supports Heart Health
The nutrients and antioxidants in pumpkins, like potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, can also help support optimal heart health. In fact, studies show that a diet that’s high in potassium helps lower blood pressure and could reduce your risk of stroke. In addition, the antioxidants and fiber in pumpkins help improve good cholesterol in your body and reduce bad cholesterol, potentially lowering your risk of heart disease.
Promotes Glowing Skin
Next, many of the same nutrients in pumpkin that promote heart, eye, and immune health can also greatly benefit your skin. For instance, carotenoids (like beta-carotene) help protect skin cells from the damage caused by harmful UV rays. In addition, vitamin C is necessary for your body to make collagen – a protein that’s essential for healthy, youthful skin.
How to Get More Pumpkin in Your Daily Diet
Now that you know how awesome pumpkin is for you, you’re likely craving it even more. Especially if you’re already in love with the taste of this fall fruit, getting more in your diet isn’t going to be difficult. But it’s helpful to know that there is a difference between healthy and unhealthy pumpkin choices.
Here are some tips for keeping your pumpkin season healthy:
- Steer clear of sugar-laden pumpkin beverages like pumpkin spice lattes… Instead, make your own healthier versions using our recipes below!
- While canned pumpkin can be a healthy addition to recipes, it should only have one ingredient: pumpkin. Steer clear of canned pumpkin pie mixes, which are sold in cans right next to regular canned pumpkin in stores, but contain added sugars and syrups.
- If you have the time, consider making your own pumpkin puree instead of buying canned (which is even healthier).
- Use pumpkin puree as a great fiber-packed ingredient in healthier baked goods.
3 Pumpkin Shake Recipes
Ready to get your pumpkin on?! Here are a few mouthwatering recipes to kick your pumpkin season off on a healthier note:
Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte
It’s not truly pumpkin season without a pumpkin spice latte! But the problem with this fall-themed drink is all the added sugar that comes with it. But thanks to our #1 top-rated meal replacement shake, 310 Nutrition, you can ditch the sugar, fake syrup, and extra calories.
Their Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe features freshly brewed coffee, pumpkin, and all your favorite fall spices, making this the perfect sweet and healthy fall treat! And to make matters more delicious, this recipe features their brand-new 310 All-In-One Pumpkin Spice shake.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Here’s a smooth, rich, and good-for-you Pumpkin Pie Smoothie recipe from our #3 rated meal replacement Shake, Vega One. This indulgent pumpkin shake recipe uses pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), banana, pumpkin pie spice, unsweetened almond milk, and French Vanilla Vega One All-in-One Shake. It will taste just like your favorite dessert, minus the calories and sugar!
Protein Pumpkin Bread
But don’t feel limited to shakes, smoothies, and lattes. You can use your meal replacement shakes in baking recipes too! And this power-packed Protein Pumpkin Bread recipe from our #2 rated meal replacement shake, 1UP, is just the baking fix you need to kick off your fall season.
Ingredients include their 1Up Whey Pumpkin Spice Cake shake flavor plus brown sugar, egg whites, pumpkin puree, fall spices, and your basic baking necessities. It’s the perfect dessert for satisfying your sweet tooth while offering protein and fiber-loaded nutrition with far less sugar than other pumpkin-themed desserts.
Did you enjoy this article? Let us know in the comments below. Plus, check out our top-rated diet shakes right now, so you have a high-quality protein powder to add to all your pumpkin smoothies and baking recipes!