Finally fall is here! The decorations are coming out and porches are being primed with pumpkins. Creative carving contests are beginning, and specialty pumpkin treats are being added to menus everywhere. Lucky for us, pumpkins are more than just a fun Autumn novelty, they are delicious and great for our eyes! Pumpkins are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that greatly benefit our eyes.
Vitamin A that is found in pumpkins helps us to be able to see under low light conditions by protecting the surface of the eye, the cornea. The Vitamin C in pumpkins can help to ward off adult blindness by reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
A highly impactful mineral in pumpkin is Zinc. Appropriate amounts of Zinc help to keep your retina (the sensory membrane in the back of the eye) healthy and functional.
The antioxidants in pumpkin, lutein and zeaxanthin, act as a sunscreen for your eyes. They help to filter out any harmful high energy wavelengths of light, protecting your eyes from damage and disease.
Considering the many healthy effects pumpkins have on our eyes, we thought it would be great to provide you with some ways pumpkins can be enjoyed. Keep in mind that not all pumpkin treats are healthy; sometimes the amount of sugar used in the recipe outweighs the benefits of the pumpkin. Here are some ideas for enjoying pumpkin that are more on the healthier side of things.
Ways to Use Pumpkin
- Roasted pumpkin seeds. This recipe is easy and delicious. Simply take some whole pumpkin seeds, mix them in a bowl with melted butter and a little salt for seasoning, then spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.
- Roasted pumpkin. You can cut the pumpkin into 1 inch thick slices, coat with olive oil and seasonings and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Some popular seasonings include brown sugar, ground clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. You can use some or all of the toppings together. Have fun being creative and enjoy!
- Pumpkin Smoothies. Mixing pumpkin puree with Greek yogurt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, brown sugar, milk and crushed ice can create a cool treat that is great for your eyes!
- Pumpkin Pancakes. Whole wheat flour, some oats, an egg, coconut oil, some pumpkin seasonings, and pumpkin puree mix together to make a tasty breakfast that is packed with all of the health benefits pumpkins have to offer. Pumpkin pancakes are perfect for an Autumn morning!
In addition to benefiting our eyes, pumpkin is great for our overall health as well, providing us with a powerful source of fiber and potassium. This beautiful fall season, we hope you can enjoy the many health benefits of pumpkin just as much as we do! Happy Fall!!!