Embrace the orange! Don’t scoop and bin your pumpkin flesh, it’s a nutritional powerhouse waiting to be devoured…
Pumpkins and squashes make a great value addition to your plates. Try these…
- Roast chunks tossed with spice and oil for a tasty side dish.
- Blend roasted chunks with stock and fried onions for a quick soup.
- Smaller pumpkins can be halved, deseeded and stuffed with a cheesy or meaty filling of your choice before baking slowly.
- Pan fry thin slices with chopped sage until golden, then mash and mix with creme fraiche and grated strong cheese before tossing through cooked pasta.
- Keep the seeds too, toss with soy sauce and some ground chilli and roast until golden and dried.
Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritionist at Nutricentre explains the benefits of these gaudy gourds.
Eat the flesh…
- Pumpkins are rich in fibre – a mugful of pumpkin flesh provides about 5 grams of fibre (we need on average 18g per day to keep our digestive system functioning well).
- They are also rich in carotenoids, which are fat-soluble compounds that give the flesh its orange pigment. Beta carotene and alpha carotene are the most abundant carotenoids in pumpkins and can convert to vitamin A in the body. Your eyes will thank you for that vitamin A boost!
- Beta carotene also works as an antioxidant – protecting the body and supporting the immune system and slowing down ageing process.
- Pumpkins also contain the minerals: magnesium and potassium, which you need for good energy levels and heart health.
Save the seeds!
- Pumpkin seeds are a good source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (the good fats) and fibre, essential for heart health.
- They are also packed with protein, which will keep you fuller for longer.
- Snacking on pumpkin seeds is a great way of increasing your zinc and iron intake that support our immune system and boost energy.
- The high content of the amino acid, tryptophan may make them helpful to support sleep and better moods.