When the weather gets cooler and the leaves start to change colors, pumpkins suddenly become the center of attention. You find them in stores, on your porch, in your holiday pie. Pumpkins even find their way into your cup.
We will discuss the health benefits of our favorite fall gourd and ways to add pumpkin to your diet. Finally, we will show you how to make a healthier version of a pumpkin spice latte right at home.
Health benefits of pumpkin:
Not only are pumpkins fun to carve, eat, and drink, but did you know they are also full of nutrients? Here is an even bigger surprise. Pumpkins contain seeds, so they are actually a fruit– not a vegetable!
Pumpkins are a great source of a red/orange pigment called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage, including sunburn. Other sources of the pigment include:
Beta-carotene is also changed into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A can help your body fight off infection, especially those threatening your intestine.
Vitamin A can help prevent difficulty seeing in dim light or at night. The vitamin plays such an important role in vision that a severe vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness.5
Don’t forget the crunchy treats inside your pumpkin! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, which is important for bone health. They also boost heart health with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Healthier, homemade pumpkin spice latte:
Grab your favorite mug and get ready for a healthier version of your favorite fall drink right at home.
1 cup low-fat milk
2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or half of ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and half of ¼ teaspoon nutmeg), plus more for sprinkling
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon whipped cream
Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in a medium microwavable safe bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole.
Microwave until the milk is hot, about 1-2 minutes.
Whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds.
Pour the coffee into a large mug and add the foamed milk.
Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.