Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Power Of a major player in fighting disease!

The Powerful Pumpkin

Pumpkin Contains:
  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • High fiber
  • Low calories
  • Vitamin C & E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Pantothenic acid
Others in this family are: carrots, butternut squah, sweet potatoes, orange and red bell peppers
You want to eat 1/2 cup at least once a day!

Pumpkin? People are probably wondering Why Pumpkin??? This is for decoration to carve out a face put in a candle and then dispose of.  Many people rearly think of pumpkin as a food.  Most people only eat it on Thanksgiving in pumpkin pie.  Well, I am here to tell you that Pumpkin is a highly nutritional and desirable food.

The squash known as pumpkin is one of the most nutritional valuable foods known to man.  By the way, pumkin is really a fruit, not a vegetable.  Like melons its a member of the gourd family. Moreover its inexpensive, available all year round in canned form and very easy to incorporate into everday dishes., High in fiber and low in calories.  All in all pumkin is a real nutritious superstar!

Pumkin packs an abundance of disease fighting nutrients, including potassium, pantolthenic acid, magnesium, and vita c & e.  The key nutrient that boost pumpkin to the top of the power foods list is the combination of carotenoids.  Pumpkin contains one of the richest supplies of bioavailable carotenoids known to man.  Half cup of pumpkin gives you more than two times the reccomended daily dose of alpha carotene and beta carotene.  When you realize the tremendous benefits of these nutrients you will understand why pumpkin is a powerfood above all.

Foods rich in carotenoids have been linked to a host of health promoting and disease fighting activities.  They have been shown to decrease the risk of various cancers, including lung, colon, bladder, cervical, breast and skin.
In one study showed that woman with the highest concentration of carotenes in their diets had the lowest risk of breast cancer.

Few quick tips to get your carotenoid boost:
  • Enjoy a slice of orange, red bell pepper, peeled baby carrots, you can eat them raw or cooked.
  • A handfull of fresh or dried apricots or prunes. 
  • Slice of cantaloupe or watermelon
  • Slice of mango or a persimmon
  • Anotehr boost is ...Haagen-Dazs mango Sorbet...
Caratenoids have also shown great promise in their ability to lower rates of heart disease.  Beta carotene along with other carotenoids may also prove to be helpful in preventing the free radicals caused complications of long term diabetes and the increased risk for cardiovascular disease associated with this common illness.

Alpha Carotene Powerfoods:
  • Pumpkin (cooked 1 cup =  11.7 mg
  • Carrots cooked 1 cup - 6.6 mg
  • Butternut Squash  cooked 1 cup = 2.3 mg
  • Orange bell pepper 1 cup = 0.3mg
  • Collards (cooked 1 cup  0.2 mg
Beta Carotene Powerfoods:
  • Sweet Potatoe cooked 1 cup = 23 mg
  • Pumpkin cooked 1 cup = 17 mg
  • Carrots cooked 1cup = 13 mg
  • Spinach cooked 1 cup = 11.3 mg
  • Butternut squash cooked 1 cup = 9.4 mg
It's great news that pumpkin is such a high powerfood but unfortunate that it is only available fresh in the autumn.  Canned pumpkin is one of those foods that give the lie to the notion that fresh is always best.  Not only is it sometimes difficult if not  impossible to find fresh pumkin canned pumkin is actually more nutritious.  Canned pumpkin puree (don't get it mixed up with the pumkin pie filling) has been cooked down to reduce water content that you would find in fresh pumpkin.  At only 83 calories a cup it offers more than 400% of the reccomended alpha carotene and 300% of reccomended beta carotene as well as almost half of the iron reccomended for adult men and postmenapausal women.

Lets not forget the seeds:
Pumpkin seeds are full of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potssium and zinc.  They are a great plant source of Omega 6 and omega 3's fatty acids.  Clean the seeds thoroughly let dry then drizzle with olive oil add salt and roast until golden brown...

See my healthy recipes for a power pumpkin soup that I know you will love.

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