Not only is fall’s signature squash versatile enough to fit into all the above and more, it also packs some powerful healthy perks — like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check, as long as you take it easy on the pie, that is.
A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A for additional peeper protection.
Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories.
A fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds. A 2009 study found that people who ate a whole apple before lunch (the fiber is in the skin) consumed fewer calories throughout the meal than people who ate applesauce or drank apple juice, WebMD reported.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, the famed ingredient in turkey that many think brings on the need for that post-Thanksgiving feast snooze. While experts agree that it’s likely the overeating rather than the tryptophan lulling you to sleep, the amino acid is important in production of serotonin, one of the major players when it comes to our mood, WebMD reports. A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds may help your outlook stay bright.