Living with Herbs
Pumpkin and its seeds have a lot of healthy ingredients - vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and more. There are at least 4 healthy reasons why you should love pumpkins - not only at Halloween or as a sugar packed pie at Thanksgiving. Read more and see our favorite recipe!
Pumpkin and its seeds have a lot of healthy ingredients: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, as well as Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus. 1 cup cooked pumpkin provides about 200% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 17% of vitamin C, and 11% of potassium – just to name the most important. And don’t overlook the fiber: 3g fiber per one cup serving with only 49 calories. Remember: You will need some fat (oil is better than cream) to convert the beta-carotene into vitamin A!
There are at least 4 reasons, why you should love pumpkin beyond Halloween and Thanksgiving
1. Heart Health – cholesterol and hypertension
Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols that have been shown to reduce the “bad” cholesterol LDL. They are as well full of Phytoestrogens, which – according to research help prevent hypertension. In addition the fiber, potassium and vitamin C help to support your heart health.
2. Sharpen your eyes – prevent age related macular degeneration
As mentioned above, one cup of pumpkin contains about 200 % of vitamin A you need daily. Vitamin A helps to sharpen your vision – especially in dim light.
And pumpkin can help to prevent the degenerative damage of the part of your eyes that provide the central vision. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene are antioxidants that support eye health and prevent age related macular degeneration.
3. Weight loss
The fiber in pumpkin will let you feel fuller and eat less. In combination with the just few calories, pumpkin may help you shedding some pounds before or after the holidays.
4. Men’s Health
Pumpkin seeds improve lower urinary tract symptoms in men. Pumpkin seeds contain a unique sterol that reduces prostate growth and improves urination disorders.
How to best eat pumpkin
In order to get the most nutritional value, be sure to choose recipes that do not add too much sugar or cream! Quite the contrary: Substitute parts of sugar and fat in cakes and other dished for pumpkin puree. Try in smoothies. Make sure to use a little bit of oil in order to release the beta-carotene. And try to avoid canned pumpkin. Fresh cooked is best. There are smaller pumpkins to buy that even taste better. And you can freeze pumpkin puree.
Here is my favorite soup:
Chicken Pumpkin Soup with Herbs
4 cups fresh cubed pumpkin
4 chicken thighs
1 onion, cut into large pieces
4 cloves garlic
1 tblsp coriander seeds
½ cup chopped fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, oregano (which ever you like best)
Salt to taste
4 Tsp of any nut oil (preferably pumpkin seed oil) or olive oil
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Put all ingredients except the fresh herbs in a large pot, add 6 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until chicken is cooked and tender. Put chicken on a plate and let cool. Puree the soup with a hand-held blender. De-bone chicken thighs and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to soup. Add herbs shortly before serving.
If you can get hold of it, drizzle some pumpkin seed oil on top of each soup bowl. Original Austrian pumpkin seed oil is cold pressed, very dark green and has a special flavor. It is made out of a pumpkin variety that has green seeds. I found in the internet that in the US these are grown in Oregon. As a substitute for pumpkin seed oil you may use any nut oil or even olive oil.
Add roasted pumpkin seeds to every bowl.
How to make Pumpkin Puree from Scratch
There are in general 2 ways to cook pumpkin.
(1) Cut pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and stringy fiber, place face down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 90 minutes until pumpkin is soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and puree in a blender.
(2) Cut pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and stringy fiber, cut pumpkin into pieces, peel, and cook in a large pot with some water until tender. Let cool for some time and puree in blender. Don't discard the liquid. Use it for soup or stew. It contains valuable nutrients.
Freeze pumpkin puree in small portions for later use.
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It's easy and healthy using more herbs: 'Living With Herbs' is a blog giving little tips, recipes, and information on herbs.
Dr. Angela C. Fritz