Welcome back to my first week of #GettingItLocal, so let’s talk about pumpkins. Pumpkins are more than just a Fall-favorite, they are jam-packed with nutrients! I’m going to go through what each of them do, because what good is knowing which nutrients are in something if you don’t know what they are used for in the body!
The most abundant nutrient is beta-carotene. This antioxidant is a precursor for vitamin A, meaning your body uses this to make vitamin A. It also give pumpkins their signature color. Vitamin A helps our skin and vision (I’m sure you’ve heard something like “eat carrots to help your eyesight,” this is because of beta-carotene/vitamin A, although it doesn’t really work like that).
Other nutrients include Vitamins B2, C and E, potassium, fiber, and omega-3 (this totally rhymed). Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin, harvests energy from the food you eat so you can use it. Vitamin C helps with collagen formation, wound healing and iron absorption, while vitamin E stabilizes red blood cells and is also an antioxidant. Potassium is an important electrolyte; fiber helps us regulate our bowels, blood sugars, and cholesterol; and omega 3 fatty acids are important for metabolism, but we can’t make them so we need to eat them.
Now that we know what eating pumpkins help us with, here are some of my favorite fun facts about pumpkins:
- Pumpkins are technically a fruit
- You may have read this in my other pumpkin post, but canned pumpkin is not actually pumpkin, it’s a combination of other squashes. People wanted a vibrant, orange color when they think of pumpkin, and because real pumpkins are yellow inside and there is no technical definition of “pumpkin” food manufacturers use other orangey squash to fill cans of pumpkin puree.
- If this last fact bothered you, you can make your own pumpkin puree and freeze it for REAL pumpkin year round.
- All parts of the pumpkin are edible! Including the shell, seeds, leaves, and flowers.
- Pumpkin seeds have the highest protein content of any other seed.
- People used to carve faces into turnips, but since coming to North America, they found pumpkins were more abundant and larger, making them easier to carve.
Now go to your local pumpkin patch and eat some pumpkins! 🙂