Pumpkins are more than a fall and Halloween tradition. There’s actually quite a few health benefits of pumpkin that you’re probably not aware of. I had no idea, almost ten years ago, when we started out family fall tradition of picking out the perfect pumpkins.
Chad, Coop, and I have been going to the same pumpkin patch ever since Coop was a baby. We didn’t go for his first fall season/Halloween, because he was only about two weeks old and let’s face it, I could barely get up and walk to the bathroom let alone dress up in real clothes and gallivant through a pumpkin patch (we did, however, dress him up like a pumpkin.. see below. He loved it). But, you can bet your pumpkin that next fall we were all about it. And we’ve been back every year since (except I think maybe in 2013… oddly enough, I have no memories of the patch that year, and I can’t find any photos. Who knows what happened?)
We were a little nervous that this would be the year that did the ole’ patch in. Owned by a family on their farm, the pumpkin patch we visit has been around for decades. We’ve come to really love our time there each year, so obviously with everything going on in 2020 we were keeping our fingers crossed that our tradition could continue. But, luckily – Shady Knolls is still operating and business was booming when we stopped out there this season. We took pics in all the usual spots, and I might have cried a little. It’s both fun and sad to see how fast Coop is growing up, and fun but also sad to compare the photos each year.
We love the pumpkin patch mostly for the nostalgia it offers, and Coop loves picking out the biggest, most perfectly-shaped pumpkin he can find (Pumpkin Picking tip from Coop: your pumpkin must not have pimples). But pumpkins are also super healthy for you – in case you didn’t know. In honor of National Pumpkin Day (yep, it’s a thing! Google it!) Enjoy a little trip down my memory lane, and learn five amazing health benefits that pumpkin can bring to your fall-decorated table.
*Fun fact: I’ve been trying to sneak a white pumpkin into our barrel every year and Chad always mysteriously fills the barrel and there’s never any room for more. No idea why. But this year..this year Coop pulled through for mom and I got a little white pumpkin to add to our steps!”
5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkins Promote Healthy Skin
Pumpkins are packed with beta-carotene, which has been known to act as natural sunblock for our skin. They also contain vitamins such as C and E, which can help promote overall skin health, while keeping it looking healthy and young. (currently adding pumpkin to my grocery list this week).
Pumpkins Are Nutrient Dense + Low Calorie
Because pumpkins are so packed with nutrients and fiber, pumpkin can actually help you feel fuller, longer. They’re also super low in calories, with one cup of cooked pumpkin only yielding about 49 calories, 0.2g of fat, 12g of carbs, and 2g of protein. If you’re trying to add more carbs to your life, but afraid of eating “too many” – pumpkin is a great compromise and way to start introducing carbs back into your diet.
Pumpkins Are Full of Antioxidants
Pumpkins are full of antioxidants such as carotenoids, which neutralize free radicals and can protect against developing certain cancers.
Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System
Oranges steal all the glory when it comes to immune-boosting superfoods. But did you know that pumpkins are also a great source of vitamin C? Along with C, pumpkins are packed with vitamin A which is known to also boost immunity and fight infection, along with vitamin E, iron, and folate, which also can help keep your immune system functioning as it should. A pumpkin a day keeps the doctor away!
Pumpkins Promote Heart Health
Pumpkins are also loaded with potassium, which is essential for healthy heart function. Studies have shown that people who tend to eat more potassium-rich foods tend to have lower blood pressure and decreased risk of strokes. Because pumpkins are high in antioxidants (which I mentioned above), they can also help fight the bad cholesterol levels in our body – and we all know bad cholesterol can increase our risk of developing heart disease.
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.