‘Tis the season for pumpkin! Here are the nutrition bullet points that make them well worth eating:
- Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene (an important antioxidant).
- Beta-carotene (a bright orange plant pigment) is converted to vitamin A in your body.
Vitamin A is for Anti-Aging
Foods rich in beta-carotene:
- May reduce your risk of developing certain cancers.
- Offer protection against heart disease and some degenerative aspects of aging, including cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Keep your skin soft and smooth. Vitamin A rebuilds body tissues and helps control the production of sebum (oil) that lubricates your skin. If you’re deficient in this vitamin, you’ll end up with dry, scaly skin.
- Destroy free radicals, that is, the by-products of oxidation from normal metabolic processing. These little scavengers cause cellular damage and are responsible for aging skin.
- Attack the free radicals that break down your skin’s elastin and collagen – the vital components of youthful, firm and resilient skin.
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are a good souce of fiber and healthy fats and an excellent source of iron — especially for vegans. A handful of pepitas (about 85 little seeds) contain about 1 mg. of iron. That’s about 4% of the recommended amount of iron you need each day.
Iron is essential due to its oxygen-carrying capacity. An iron deficiency can impair muscle function, normal function of the nervous and immune systems, and can limit your work capacity during exercise.
Fit Tip: Roast and season pumpkin seeds and kernels for a bone-building high-fiber snack. To spice them up, sprinkle them with garlic powder, cayenne and smoked paprika. Also, try some Super Moist Pumpkin Bars for a boost of vitamin A!