I don’t know about you but the minute there is a slight chill in the air (post summer) I get fall-fever. Being in Southern California you really have to search hard for those signs of season change, but it doesn’t make the joy of the seasons changing any less. Fall means light sweaters, cute boots, delicate scarves and PUMPKIN.
Being the first day of fall, I thought it was fitting to do a post on all things pumpkin!
Like most things, food was the main inspiration for this festive post but health and beauty began to play a factor the more I researched. I enjoy the many flavors of fall (and I know I’m not alone) which often include spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and sage as well as seasonal produce including the hearty squash, pumpkin.
You can incorporate pumpkin into many things to get a healthy boost from the beauty products you use on your face to the pureed version you use in a recipe. I always knew it was healthy because, lets face it, it’s a vegetable, but the reasoning behind it made me curious enough to delve in deeper.
Enough punkin’ around, lets get to it.
Various spas I’ve visited boasted that I should try the pumpkin facial, pumpkin peel, and pumpkin moisturizer. Honestly I always felt it was just a festive way to sell a service and never thought too deeply about using pumpkin as a skincare ingredient. Well I did some digging and the findings were pretty fascinating.
First off, pumpkin is packed with vitamins A and C, both which help to soothe and soften your skin and boost collagen production (hello anti-aging!). Pumpkin is also full of natural enzymes, which create cell turnover to help brighten skin and even out its surface.
Some other benefits that commonly popped up in pumpkin skincare included combating free radicals, fighting acne and moisturizing skin cells with natural penetration. I didn’t really need to read much further, I was convinced this was a great natural alternative to store bought masks or scrubs.
Aside from using pumpkin on my skin, I wanted to see what the benefits of ingesting the infamous squash were and the nutritional boost I could hope to gain.
There were pages upon pages on the benefits of eating pumpkin in both it’s whole form and the seeds inside. I judge a lot of foods by their appearance and when looking at pumpkins their color alone looks nutritious to me. Pumpkins are such a rich shade of orange, that even in a raw state they look appealing, satisfying and oozing with nutrition.
Here comes another Top 10, because lets be honest I love them and they make it simple to condense my findings.
Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Eating Pumpkin
- Immunity boost- in a season known for sniffles and sneezing, it’s always a good idea to get a head start on boosting your immunity. Pumpkin is FULL of Vitamin C, more than 11 milligrams in 1 cup of cooked pumpkin to be exact, which is nearly 20% of the 60% recommended daily amount for women.
- Heart healthy- pumpkin seeds are naturally rich in phytosterols (a plant based chemical) which studies show reduce LDL commonly known as the bad cholesterol, equaling a happy and healthy heart!
- Laser focus- one of the best-known sources of antioxidant beta-carotene which the body converts into a form of Vitamin A to help protect our vision.
- Lowers blood pressure- pumpkin is rich in potassium which is shown to lower blood pressure, you can do more than just burn a pumpkin candle as a stress reliever!
- Digestion- getting enough fiber and potassium is essential for healthy digestion. Pumpkin is high and both and will ensure you stay regular and readily absorbing nutrients.
- Waist trimmer- in 1 cup of pumpkin there are 3 grams of fiber, 50 calories and no fat. The high fiber content means a longer time for your body to digest (feeling full and making your body work harder to burn), the low calories mean you can enjoy a bigger portion and feel full faster.
- Fertility friend- pumpkin seeds contain zinc, a mineral that is said to aide in men’s sexual health (fertility, potency and sex drive). In ¼ cup there is 17 % of your daily need. The high iron in pumpkin is essential for women in and around pregnancy and the high Vitamin A content is essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.
- Sleep aide- it is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid which gets converted to serotonin, a feel good neurotransmitter that helps you settle down and unwind into a relaxed sleep.
- Mood booster- as said above for sleep, pumpkin provides tryptophan which in the body is converted into serotonin, aka a natural mood booster.
- Muscle recovery- pumpkin contains high amounts of magnesium, an essential mineral that aides in muscle growth and repair. In just 1 oz. of pumpkin seeds there is 30% of your daily recommended value. What a perfect post-workout snack!
Ok now that you know why it’s so great for you, here are three simple ways to enjoy pumpkin this season.
Pumpkin 3 Simply Fit Ways:
Simply Fit Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup organic pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
½ cup maple syrup
2 eggs (or flax egg)
1 TBL pure vanilla extract
4 TBL raw almond butter (or sub sunflower or other nut butter)
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk)
2 ¼ cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp cinnamon
optional ½ cup dark chocolate chips, raisins, nuts or seeds
Preheat oven to 350 and then grease or line muffin tin (for 12 muffins). Prepare oats by placing in food processor and blending until flour consistency, set aside in a bowl.
Layer ingredients wet to dry in a food processor excluding optional ingredients (i.e. chocolate chips, raisins, etc.) and pulse then blend for 1 minute until completely smooth.
With a spoon stir in optional ingredient(s) if you choose to use them. Fill muffin tins ¾ full, don’t be shy this batter doesn’t rise too much.
Bake in over 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before taking out of tin. Enjoy! Can store in air tight container in the fridge for up to a week for best results.
Simply Fit Pumpkin Facial
1 TBL pureed pumpkin (canned or homemade)
1 tsp raw honey (preferably local or pure source)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients well in small glass or porcelain bowl. Apply with fingertips to a clean, dry face and avoiding eye area. Leave on for 10-15 minutes (you will feel it set and harden a little). Wash off with a warm water and non-abrasive cloth. Pat face dry with clean towel and apply lotion or oil as usual.
Simply Fit Pumpkin Latte
1 cup non-dairy milk (I love coconut for this)
1 TBL pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
few drops of stevia or any liquid sweetener depending on taste
¾ cup cold brew or strong coffee
In small saucepan heat milk and pumpkin over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until a slow simmer. Add pumpkin pie spice and sweetener and whisk until frothy. Put coffee in desired drinking vessel (mug or travel bottle) and add milk mixture on top. Top with sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and enjoy!
Note: Sometimes I like to follow the above recipe but instead of serving hot, let the ingredients cool once combined, add to blender with ice and enjoy a frothy latte 🙂
Hope you enjoyed some seasonal inspo just in time for Fall! What’s your favorite thing about the season?