It’s National Pumpkin Day, and if pumpkin automatically brings to mind your mom’s decadent pumpkin pie recipe—in all its sugary, buttery-crusted, waistline-expanding glory—let’s erase that Thanksgiving feast thinking.
Because pumpkin is actually a versatile, nutrient-packed power food that should definitely be a key player for you during the fall season. And here’s why:
That shocking neon-orange flesh translates to serious antioxidant content—beta-carotene to be exact (read: the heart-disease fighters that keep you looking and feeling your best).
One cup of cooked pumpkin comes in at a mere 50 calories and about 3 grams of fiber—which will keep you sufficiently satisfied and energized.
The seeds are worth your while, too. Particularly high in protein (9 grams per 1 ounce serving), they also contain lutein, an antioxidant that aids vision, and a dose of phytosterols, which help keep LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels low.
Convinced? Here are a few ways to work pumpkin into your diet.