Pumpkin – Why and how to eat it more?

Centar za nutricionizam i dijetetiku inga markovic

Pumpkin is one of the healthiest ingredients since it has over 60 nutrients. It is the main source of alfa and beta carotene, as well as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin that provide strong health support as antioxidants and strong anti-inflammatory elements. Besides anti-inflammatory properties, pumpkin helps in blood sugar and insulin levels regulation since it is rich in d-chiro-inositol, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B1, B3, and B6. Its combination of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants has a clear potential to prevent and treat cancer. It works wonders with people how need body weight regulation since it is low in calories (one cup of pumpkin has only 76kcal). Pumpkin’s orange pigment helps with the prevention of macular degeneration, acne, and cancer, especially lung cancer. Its ingredient called cryptoxanthin decreases the risk of lung cancer for 37 percent, in smokers.

Pumpkin is rich in magnesium, so it is useful in treating acne, allergies, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, premenstrual issues, and kidney stones. Potassium in pumpkin helps with lowering blood pressure and the prevention of strokes. The vitamin composition in pumpkin prevents cataract and chronic infectious diseases from developing.  This vegetable full of incredible elements is used for the lowering of LDL Cholesterol and digestion problem regulation, as well.

Since it is full of amino acids that increase the eradiation of serotonin, known as the hormone of happiness, pumpkin is great for good mood and anxiety or depression prevention.

Ways to prepare pumpkin while preserving its nutrients

Cook pumpkin on a double boiler for seven minutes.

In order to cook it quickly, you need to peel it, chop it on cubes, and cook it on steam for just seven minutes to preserve all of its medicinal properties and to make it taste better.

2 cups of chopped pumpkin
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of lemon juice
Potassium iodized salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Fill the bottom of the pan with water to start the process of steam cooking. While you are waiting for steam to appear, chop peeled pumpkin on smaller cubes. Steam it covered with a lid for seven minutes. The pumpkin is cooked once it becomes soft. You can check using a fork. Transfer it in a bowl greased with olive oil, and add lemon juice and salt and pepper while it is still hot.

Adding olive oil or some other type of fat helps carotenoids and vitamins soluble in fat absorb better.

Pumpkin prepared like this can be enriched with many different ingredients. You will have new delicious recipes that are healthy at the same time.

Recipe number 1: add feta cheese and chopped rosemary, sage, or time to the prepared pumpkin.


Recipe number 2: add a tablespoon of honey and sprinkle grounded cinnamon or nutmeg to already prepared pumpkin. However, you need to know that this meal is not good for people that have diabetes.

Recipe number 3: add some roasted walnuts, almonds, and sunflower or pumpkin seeds to already prepared pumpkin. This meal is ideal for malnourished people and convalescents.

Recipe number 4: Pumpkin with kale – to already prepared pumpkin, add kale cooked on a double boiler for only five minutes. Serve kale over the pumpkin and drizzle it with Mediterranean dressing.
Recipe for the dressing: 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice, 4-5 cloves of crushed garlic, salt, and pepper

Recipe number 5: Pumpkin pure- mix prepared pumpkin with ¼ cup of coconut milk (or regular non-fat cow milk), and add salt to taste. Don’t add oil, lemon juice, salt or pepper while cooking pumpkin if you are making this recipe. You can add other spices like grounded ginger to taste.

Recipe number 6: Pumpkin soup- You need just three minutes to prepare this meal. Start by mixing already prepared pumpkin using a blender and add 1,5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, three tablespoons of milk, one tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger, ¼ tablespoon of turmeric or curry, and salt and pepper to taste. Finish it with some chopped parsley or coriander and a few drops of fresh lemon juice to taste. Serve it warm or reheat it before eating.

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