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5 Next-Level Health Benefits Of Pumpkin (+ Our Favorite Recipe!)



As the weather starts to get colder and the leaves change color, pumpkins take center stage. But what about this time of year makes us crave that PSL flavor more than any other season? Each smell and taste of our beloved pumpkin triggers a rush of happy neurotransmitters like dopamine that evoke happy memories and positive emotions. Smells are even directly sent to the amygdala region of your brain responsible for processing emotional experiences.

But my love of pumpkins goes far beyond my favorite fall memories. As an holistic health coach, I consider pumpkins a nutritional powerhouse, offering a multitude of benefits for all aspects of your health. In fact, pumpkins are such a powerful superfood that you should consider eating more of even after the last leaves have fallen.





Top 5 health benefits of pumpkin

Its rare that a food can benefit multiple areas of your health. And the ones that can? Well, those are considered superfoods. These are my favorite health benefits of pumpkin and why I think pumpkin should become a staple in your pantry.

1. It boosts your gut health Rich in dietary fiber - at approximately 2.7 grams per cup - pumpkin can help promote both a healthy gut microbiome since fiber acts as a prebiotic that nourishes the beneficial bacteria already residing in your gut so that it can thrive and multiply. These bacteria also work to ferment the soluble fiber in pumpkins to produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, which can reduce any inflammation happening in your gut. And if you need a little help going number 2, fiber adds bulk to your stool so that things can keep moving smoothly.

2. It is a surprising source of protein

Pumpkin seeds usually get overlooked this time of year for lacking that delicious PSL flavor, but they are a part that you definitely shouldn’t sleep on. Containing 12 grams of protein per cup, pumpkin seeds are considered a complete plant protein due to their amino acid content. And did I mention that they are also high in fiber and healthy fats?

3. It is high in health-protecting antioxidants

Considered the "building blocks of life", your cells ensure all systems of your body function properly. Antioxidants are compounds that fight (1) against free radical damage caused by factors like toxins, poor diet, and stress that can damage your cells and result in everything from poor vision and sun damage to chronic diseases like heart problems and cancer.

4. It can help strengthen your immune system

Pumpkins can play a significant role in strengthening your immune system, thanks to their rich nutrient profile, most notably vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc.

  • Vitamin A: Pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin A and the precursor to Vitamin A - beta-carotene. Studies have shown that Vitamin A is necessary for a healthy immune system, going as far to classify (3) deficiencies as an immunodeficiency disorder.

  • Vitamin C: This immune-boosting vitamin encourages white blood cell production - the defense mechanisms of your immune system - and can even reduce (4) cold symptoms by up to 30 percent.

  • Zinc: This micronutrient is also responsible for producing white blood cells and combining it with Vitamin C can further increase Vitamin C’s immune-boosting benefits.

Plus, the same antioxidant capabilities of pumpkins we mentioned earlier, further support immune system resilience by fighting oxidative stress and inflammation.

5. It can help you maintain a healthy weight Not only can the fiber content of pumpkins curb your cravings by helping you feel full and satiated, it is relatively low in calories at only 50 per cup since it is technically 94% water. Everything else? Pure superfood nutrients!

Pumpkin Beer Bread Recipe With Homemade Herb Butter from Herbal Academy

Mix and mix, bubble and bake, who’s ready for a bread recipe to make? Savory pumpkin beer bread is the perfect fall recipe, especially paired with herbaceous creamy homemade butter. It’ll be a crowd-pleasing delight!

Ingredients 3 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur’s is a favorite) 1 tablespoon of baking powder 1½ cups pumpkin beer ¼ cup honey (or alternative sweetener such as maple syrup or brown sugar) 6 tablespoons salted butter or vegan butter, chilled Directions

  • Create the bread batter by adding the two dry ingredients to a large bowl. Give them a stir to mix together.

  • Next, pour in the pumpkin beer.

  • Lastly, add in the honey and mix thoroughly.

  • Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with butter.

  • Pour the batter into the pan and add slices of cold butter on top of the dough mixture.

  • Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. The bread will get a crispy golden brown top when it’s done.



Homemade Herb Butter

Adding tasty, aromatic herbs and spices, such as rosemary and sage, really elevates and customizes this butter recipe to bring out its rich flavors. Ingredients 2 cups cream (heavy or whipping) 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) aerial parts, finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh sage (Salvia officinalis) leaf, finely chopped Directions

  • Using a stand or handheld mixer, pour 2 cups of cream into the bowl. Turn your mixer on high and start to whip. It will take several minutes of continuous whipping to start to see the solids begin to separate. Once a butter-like consistency is achieved and you notice the liquid at the bottom of the bowl, you’re ready for the next step.

  • Remove the butter from the bowl and form a small ball. Place the butter ball into an ice bath by simply filling a second small bowl with water and ice. Allow the butter ball to soak in the ice bath for a minute.

  • Remove the butter ball from the ice bath and using a flat surface and parchment paper, spread the ball thin. A spatula works well here.

  • Once the butter is evenly spread, add in a sprinkling of the rosemary and sage.

  • Create a butter log by using your spatula to get the spread butter into the center.

  • Next, roll the parchment paper to form the butter into a log.

  • Place butter in the refrigerator to fully form. After a few minutes, it’ll be ready to use.



HOMEMADE PUMPKIN SOUP RECIPE


Homemade Pumpkin Soup Recipe created by Herbal Academy’s Director Marlene Adelmann. Serves 10-12. Ingredients 1 large onion, chopped 6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped 6-8 carrots peeled and cut into small pieces 4 potatoes washed, peeled and cut into small pieces 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper () Salt Pepper Dried sage leaf (Salvia officinalis) Dried rosemary leaf (Rosmarinus officinalis) 8-10 cups water 1 small pumpkin roasted

Directions

  • Wash the outside of a small pumpkin (3-4 pounds) cut in half and scoop out seeds. Place pumpkin halves face down on an oiled baking dish with sides. Bake in a 375 oven for approximately 50 minutes.

  • Pumpkin is done when a knife slides easily into the baked pumpkin.

  • To prepare soup, saute onions and garlic in a large stockpot over med-high heat, saute until golden. Add a tablespoon of high heat oil such as coconut oil if the mixture is too dry. Onions normally have enough natural juice to saute without added fats. Add carrots and potatoes with butter and cover. Lift the cover often to stir and to keep the mixture from burning or sticking.

  • Ideally, the vegetables should brown slightly for a more robust flavor. When vegetables are still crisp but slightly cooked and browned, add 10-12 cups of water along with the pumpkin puree.

  • Season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne, sage, and rosemary. After all of the ingredients are combined the pot should be covered and simmered for at least 1 hour. It can be kept warm on the stove top for several hours.

  • Garnish with a dab of sour cream or sprinkle with pumpkins seeds. Add beans when serving for added nutrition.



Gabriela Ana

Holistic Health Coach




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GABRIELA ANA

Health Coach

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