Is pumpkin really a superfood? KDHamptons Health and Wellness contributing editor, Charlotte LaGuardia. Surrounded by our local small farms, fresh seafood, and wineries Charlotte learned the benefits of nutrient dense foods first hand and shares her integrative approach, rooted in science, with KDHamptons readers through recipes, tips, and features on health and wellness. (Be sure to follow her on Insta @thriveeastnutrition). Charlotte weighs in on why pumpkin deserves a place in your diet and how to easily incorporate it, below.
Believe it or not, the thing that sits on your doorstep throughout the fall may do better on your plate than the porch! Here are a few reasons why pumpkin is this fall’s superfood.
1. Supports healthy blood pressure – pumpkin contains over 500 mg of potassium, more than you would find in a banana. Potassium helps to regulate our blood pressure and a diet rich in this mineral from fresh fruits and vegetables will help lower numbers.
2. High in vitamin A – pumpkin contains 245% of the RDA for vitamin A, which is important for eye health, vision, as well as skin. Beta-carotene offers our eyes and skin natural protection from UV rays. It is also what gives pumpkin its vibrant orange color. Beta-carotene also functions as an antioxidant in the body to protect our cells from free radical damage.
3. It can help you sleep – roughly 50% of the American population is deficient in magnesium. This mineral is vital for many biochemical reactions in the body and may prevent migraines, reduce insulin resistance as well as prevent muscle fatigue and cramping. Additionally, it will help you get a good night’s sleep. So, sit back, sip your decaf pumpkin spice latte and enjoy!
4. It is naturally low in calories – one cup of pumpkin contains just 2% of our daily value for calories while being naturally rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Whether you are looking to lose weight or just feel better, pumpkin can be a great addition to any diet.
5. It fills you up fast – one cup contains 7 g of fiber, which not only helps you feel full, it is also supportive to the digestive system. Fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in our microbiome as well as supports detoxification of excess cholesterol, hormones, and toxins.
Pumpkin Spice “Latte”
1-2 Medjool Date, pitted
½ cup full fat coconut milk
10 oz brewed coffee, I like Bulletproof
1 TBS coconut oil
2 TBS organic pumpkin puree
1.5 tsp pumpkin spice
1 scoop grass fed collagen powder
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Heat coconut milk and date(s) over medium heat until you reach a simmer – place in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high until frothy and smooth.
- 2-1/2 tablespoons avocado oil (divided)
1 sugar pumpkin (about 2 pounds, or 3 cups canned pumpkin)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (divided)
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1.5 teaspoon fresh ground ginger (or dried)
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups chicken bone broth
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin ribbons
- 2 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and pulp.
- Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper, then place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the pumpkins with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
- Place in the oven and roast for 45 min – 1 hour, until soft. Remove the pumpkin and set aside to cool enough for handling.
- Place the carrots, onions, and garlic on the same tray and roast for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy pot. Add the cinnamon, ginger, allspice and bay leaf. Stir the spices constantly for 1 minute. Remove the pumpkin skin, then add the broth, maple syrup, and all of the vegetables to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Make sure to vent the top of the blender, otherwise the steam from the soup will make it explode.
- Return all of the soup to the pot, then add 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the coconut milk, then set the heat to low and keep the soup warm.
- Heat 1 TBS avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and sage and fry until crisp.
- Fill bowls with soup and top with the prosciutto and sage. Enjoy!
For more information, contact Charlotte LaGuardia, MS, CNS
Clinical Nutritionist, Thrive East; 631-374-5510