Fall Fit Food Spotlight – Pumpkins

It’s harvest season. A time for cold air, warm clothes, and some of the tastiest food of the year. With that, we wanted to highlight some of these fall treats so you can enjoy your healthiest and tastiest fall yet.

Did you know that jack-o’lanterns weren’t actually carved from pumpkins? Instead, scary faces were carved into other vegetables, like turnips and potatoes.

You read that right … turnips and potatoes … Slightly less scary or fun than the jack o’lanterns we carve today, huh?

As legend has it, carving scary faces into vegetables – pumpkins or otherwise – wards off demons, spirits, and other ghoulies. Regardless if pumpkins protect you from ghosts or not, adding them to your diet will help keep you healthy.

Here are three reasons to eat your leftover pumpkins this fall:

Promotes Heart Health

If your heart can’t quite take another scare after this Halloween season, pumpkin might just be the thing you need.

Pumpkins are high in potassium, an essential mineral that helps muscles contract. Remember, your heart’s a muscle, and it contracts hundreds of thousands of times a day. Potassium is what triggers your heart to keep contracting and pumping blood through your entire body.

If Halloween haunts are still causing your heart to skip a beat, indulging in a potassium-rich pumpkin might be the treat you need, as potassium can regulate your heartbeat. Just note a consultation with a doctor is advised before using potassium to regulate the rhythm of your heart.

Protects Eye Health

While jack o’lanterns were once meant to be spooky, seeing them lit up all over the neighborhood is a pretty cool sight. Something about that soothing, orange glow.

However, pumpkins aren’t just a sight for sore eyes once carved and lit – they can literally protect your eye health.

Pumpkins are chock-full of vitamins and minerals that help your eyes, including vitamins A, C, E, and zinc.

Vitamins A, E, and C have antioxidant properties that can prevent your eyes from age-related eye damage or vision loss, as well as dry eye and cataracts. Zinc is actually what helps bring vitamin A from the liver to your retina, which then creates melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes. Getting enough zinc can also help you see better at night.

Glowing Skin

Adding a little more pumpkin to your diet is worth it just to benefit your heart and eyes. But did you know it can make you look as good as you feel? It’s true. The same vitamins that can help your eyesight also make your skin look less dry and prevent aging and scarring.

Pumpkins also have fruit acids in them, such as alpha hydroxy acid, which can exfoliate your skin and increase cell turnover, giving your skin a “glow” that makes you look younger and healthier.

Clearly, pumpkins might be better off sitting on your plate instead of your porch this fall. Not only will pumpkins make you look good, but they’ll help you feel good long after they’ve scared off any ghouls.