WASHINGTON — You might be on pumpkin overload after Halloween. Indeed, pumpkin has become a ubiquitous fall mainstay — from lattes to muffins and pies.
Sally Squires who writes the Lean Plate Club™ blog, said that while orange may be the new black, it is also the color of nutrition.
“The orange in the pumpkin comes from beta carotene, which is converted in the body to vitamin A, and it is good for your immune system, your eyes and your skin,” Squires said. “People who eat four or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables rich in beta carotene may reduce their risk of developing heart disease or cancer.”
Many people often don’t get enough beta carotene, so medical experts have suggested about five or more servings daily of foods with plenty of it — dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins.
“Pumpkins are also a low-calorie option at just 30 calories a serving,” she added. “Plus, it counts as a vegetable serving. So, go ahead and try pumpkin soup, or pumpkin pie, or pumpkin bread.”
Squires added that pumpkin seeds are also a good option, with healthy fats and a high fiber content.
However, Squires cautioned against trying to get the necessary daily allotment of beta carotene through supplements. “Several very large studies have shown that people who had an increased risk of certain types of cancer were given beta carotene supplements, and they found that it accelerated their risk of cancer,” she said.
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