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Pumpkin, fuel for health + Pumpkin spice smoothie recipe

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By Amanda Daley

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Having lived my whole life in New Zealand and Australia, the phenomenon of Pumpkin Pie and Jack-o-Lanterns has been a tradition I have viewed from afar. Having the good fortune of staying in the US this year as Fall arrives, I have watched the pumpkins pop up at such a rapid rate. Pumpkins are literally everywhere – overflowing at the stores and market, in shop window displays, on the glossy pages of the magazines and out front of every second home as a key decoration in the lead up to Halloween.

While the bright orange skins signal to the nation that festivities are ahead, it’s what is inside them that has me most excited.

Both pumpkin seeds and the flesh are packed full of health-boosting benefits, loaded with vitamins, minerals and a host of other goodies.

Pumpkins are sweet & have a grounding effect on the body – bringing you down to earth when sugar has sent you sky high. They are a highly favored ingredient to balance the body in a Macrobiotic diet. In my practice as a holistic health coach, pumpkin is my secret ingredient in helping women eliminate sugar from their diets and remove cravings.

Pumpkin is low in fat and calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients such as:

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Fiber
  • Protein
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • Vitamins A, C and E
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Pantothenic acid

Here are some of the many health benefits of pumpkin:

  • The beta-carotene present in both the flesh and the seeds has a very high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. Consumption of pumpkin has been known to reduce inflammation rapidly, and can also protect from joint inflammation and arthritis.
  • Having a cup of pumpkin seeds a day as a snack can prevent wrinkles and leave your skin hydrated and nourished due to the high levels of vitamins A, C, E and Zinc.
  • The vitamin E also helps protect the body from sun damage and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.
  • The protective ‘phytosterols’ present in pumpkin can lower the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Pumpkin flesh contains L-tryptophan, a chemical compound that triggers feelings of well-being and happiness. Having pumpkin as a part of your daily diet can keep your spirits high and prevent depression.
  • Pumpkins are natural diuretics. These help in flushing out the toxins and unwanted waste material from the body, leaving you refreshed and healthy.
  • The vitamin C in pumpkin boosts immunity, reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and regulates cholesterol levels.
  • The potassium found in pumpkin aids in balancing fluid levels in the body, promotes strong bones, is necessary for energy production, and helps to control blood pressure.

To top it all off, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin flesh offer an abundance of uses in cooking; from muffins to pies to smoothies.

So when you finish carving up your pumpkins for Halloween, be sure to keep the seeds and flesh and get creative in the kitchen to reap the health benefits of Pumpkins.

Warm Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

1 avocado
1 cup of raw pumpkin, peeled and cubed
(or canned pumpkin)
½ cup of hot water (or chai tea for extra spice)
Heaped tablespoon Almond Butter
Stevia to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
A pinch ground cardamom
A pinch allspice
A pinch nutmeg
A pinch cloves

Method

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth – adding more liquid as you go if needed.

Taste the smoothie and adjust the stevia and spices to your liking.

I like to serve mine in a mug or bowl and eat it with a spoon like a warm pudding – perfect as the weather starts to cool. In summer, use cold water and ice instead of the tea.

Have you been doing any Halloween inspired cooking?

Why not share this?

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Amanda Daley - to view all of Amanda's blog post click here

Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue after 13 years in the corporate world of advertising, Amanda surrendered from the fast-paced life and followed her passion instead. A myriad of health conditions fell away as soon as stress was eliminated and a renewed sense of passion and purpose sprung forth. She now works as a Holistic Health Coach, helping busy women fuel their lives with health, passion and joy.

Website: http://fuelurbanwellness.com

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