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Health benefits of pumpkins, squash and zucchini
April 22, 2021
How these fall foods can help you stay healthy during cold months
Fall Superfoods! Boost Immunity & More With Squash
When fall comes around and the weather starts getting colder, many people reduce their outdoor activities and take their exercise routines indoors. With less sunshine on our skin, less movement overall, and the health risks cold weather brings, our immune system often pays the price.
It’s easier to catch bugs like the common cold and the flu, since the risk for contagion is increased because we spend more time indoors in close quarters. Aside from that, it can get difficult to get the right nutrients in since our usual food sources during warmer months may be out of season.
Adding simple fall food like pumpkin, squash, and zucchini to your diet can significantly increase your daily vitamin and mineral intake, boost your immunity, and decrease your risk for gaining weight during the season. They can also help stave off diabetes and heart disease while promoting a healthy complexion and increasing your energy.
So, what’s in these veggies that make them so valuable to your health?
Pumpkins, squash, and zucchini are some of the most nutrient-dense fall foods around. These vegetables are members of the same family, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Regardless of what shape they come in, here are a few key benefits you can get from eating these foods:
Boost your immunity.
These foods are rich in vitamin C. One medium zucchini has over 50% of your daily vitamin C needs and 15% of your daily potassium intake. Seeds from squash plants also have a long history of use in traditional and folk medicines when it comes to giving your immune system a boost—so don’t throw them away! Pop them in the oven and enjoy them as a snack or a garnish.
Help prevent you from gaining weight.
Squash is full of vitamins and minerals but low in calories, low on the glycemic index (meaning low in sugar), and high in water percentage. These properties, plus being a great source of healthy fiber, help to make you feel more full so you don’t have food cravings as often.
Manganese has also been shown to help slow down the process of creating fat storage, so that can help you further decrease weight gain in the fall—squash and pumpkins have a great daily dose of it!
Good sources of micronutrients.
Squash is a super source of magnesium, folate, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a small source of protein and calcium. One cup of butternut squash provides a whopping 437% percent of your vitamin A needs for the day, 52% of vitamin C, as well as 10% or more of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and manganese.
They also have antimicrobial and antiparasitic properties, so they also positively support your gut, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. They help keep your GI tract clear, reduce IBS, diverticulitis outbreaks, and leaky gut syndromes.
These foods are more beneficial than what you find in most supplements, so they’re the real deal when it comes to micronutrients.
Reduce the risk of hypertension.
The potassium in these veggies not only helps reduce hypertension, it also improves circulation. Other foods that are high in potassium include cantaloupe, avocado, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, spinach, and bananas.
Squash plants are also full of phytoestrogens, which has also been shown to prevent hypertension. In a recent research study, when researchers fed rats a diet supplement with pumpkin oil, they found that it helped lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in just 12 weeks.
The red-orange color of pumpkins means that they are rich in beta-carotenes, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals that can be harmful to our cells and prevent oxidative stress.
Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, promote good eye health and healthy skin, reduce your risk of asthma and heart disease, as well as delay aging and body degeneration.
So to reduce heart disease, gut issues, inflammation, bloat, and sugar cravings, consider eating one of these amazing sources of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients that are essential to keep up when the sun isn’t out to give you your daily dose of sunshine. Even with the sun low in the sky, try getting out there for at least 10-15 minutes a day for an afternoon walk. It does a body good!
Keeping healthy during colder months
If outdoor activities are difficult for you during fall, try out MELT Method while staying indoors to help you stay active and care for not just your body, but also your mind. The cold weather can take a toll on our minds, too— seasonal affective disorder can rear its head and affect our general well being.
Even just 10 minutes of MELT every day can make your body feel good, give you more energy, and help improve your outlook.
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