When you think of pumpkin and autumn the first thing that probably comes to mind is jack o’ lanterns. But Chef V suggests using this “gourdeous” fruit in other ways this time of year.
Fall is finally here and for many people that means one thing: it’s pumpkin spice latte season! Oh yeah, Halloween will soon be upon us. But there’s far more to Cucurbita Pepo (pumpkins) than carved decorative gourds and coffee drinks that instantly turn you into a pre-diabetic with an insulin-spiking rush of 50 grams of sugar.
(Need a healthy alternative recipe for pumpkins spice latte? See how I make it at the end of this article on pumpkins nutrition facts that I wrote a few years ago.)
Raw pumpkin fruit (canned), seeds and seed oils are superfoods in my book. If you want to geek out on nutrition click the link above.
This time around, I want to cover some more interesting uses about pumpkins and their health benefits….
Pumpkins: Face Masks: For Beauty, Not Trick Or Treat
Having a pumpkin on your head makes sense if you’re celebrating Halloween. But it also can help your skin look more beautiful. Of course I’m talking about face masks. Pumpkin face masks aren’t going to be the hottest beauty trend of 2021. They’ve already been a trend for a few years but not everybody has heard of applying it to the skin.
Now before you rush out to your closest supermarket to buy canned pumpkin and apply it to your skin, that’s not the type used in beauty face masks.
Many beauty brands claim that pumpkin extract helps rejuvenate the skin. And there’s some evidence to back up the claim.
In a research study from last year, the scientists concluded that the extract could have potential in treating contact dermatitis (CD) because of its antioxidant activity.
A more recent study from earlier this year noted that depression is often associated with CD because the skin disease is caused by chronic stress. The researchers found that pumpkin extract, when applied orally and topically can lessen the severity of both CD and depression.
Pumpkins have a high amount of oleic acid, an Omega-9 fatty acid, that is believed to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant activities.
Advertisements I’ve seen claim that pumpkin face masks clean pores, hydrates, cleanses, plumps the skin, stimulates collagen production, remove dead and dull skin cells and more. Who needs a dermatologist when you can just use a pumpkin face mask!
Pumpkins For Pooping!
One thing I forgot to mention in my article about nutrition facts is that it’s an excellent source of fiber. In fact, in just one serving of canned pumpkin (buy organic), there are seven grams of fiber. Fiber helps keep you regular, satisfies your appetite, removes excess cholesterol from the body, and controls blood sugar spikes. So when you’re craving a regular punkin' spice latte, just add some canned pumpkin to it. Just kidding, don’t do that. But do eat canned for the fiber content.
Pumpkins – Seed Oil For Prostate Health
Another thing I didn’t mention in my original ode to pumpkins benefits is that for men, it could be a life saver. Roughly 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Although prostate cancer is thankfully a highly survivable disease these days, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 34,000 men in the U.S. will die from prostate cancer in 2021.
The oil from pumpkin seeds have been shown in many research studies to prevent the growth of the prostate gland, which may be a contributing factor in developing prostate cancer.
Many men as they age develop a non-cancerous growth in their prostate called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH. BPH can make it painful and difficult for older men to urinate.
(Hubby, Brandon: Are you reading this? I’m buying you pumpkin seed oil for your birthday!)
Pass On The Pumpkin Pie
This time of year, besides pumpkin spice lattes and halloween decorations, most people associate the with pie.
Yes, I’m a certified nutritional therapist and innovator behind nationwide delivery of organic Green Drink, but I’m not going to be the food police and tell you never to eat pumpkin pie again. But if you are going to eat it, do so sparingly because too many added sugars can weaken your immune system. And you don’t need me to remind you why that’s a problem these days.
If you’re going to indulge in pie use a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia. It may not taste as good as the real thing but it will allow you to celebrate the season without the guilt.
Have a happy, healthy autumn!