October is the season for pumpkins. For most people this means flavored pumpkin latte’s, carving jack-o-lanterns, and pumpkin pie recipes. If you want more nutritional value from your pumpkin you will need to learn how to properly pick one for consumption and then you can count on the health benefits.
Here is a 5-step process to pick a perfect pumpkin for consumption:
Step 1: Avoid the big pumpkins. There are breed for size not flavor. Look for sugar pumpkins or the pie pumpkin variety.
Step 2: Check the stem. The greener the stems the fresher it is. Chances are you won’t find a green stem at a grocery store but hints of green are better than nothing.
Note: Never lift a pumpkin from its steam. The steam can pull on the weak parts of the pumpkin leaving an open wound.
Step 3: Choose a pumpkin that is a consistent color throughout.
Step 4: Turn it over and feel around for any soft spots. Pumpkins should be firm.
Step 5: Once you pick a good pumpkin store in a cool & dry place. To prolong the pumpkin’s life wash it and rub it with coconut oil.
Top 3 Nutritional Health Benefits of Pumpkins:
1. Pumpkins keep our eyes sharp.
Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give them their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A. A cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
2. Loads of fiber leaving you satiated.
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 helps people eat less, and thereby shed pounds.
3. Packs in more potassium than bananas.
Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally. A cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.