It’s hard to resist the spirit of this time of the year. Something about autumn feels less commercialized than the other seasons, especially the upcoming red-and-green one. Maybe it’s because we’re growing weary of the constant heat of summer, or the frantic but exciting whirl of transitioning our kids back to school, or maybe it’s just the welcome nip of brisk air that hits your cheeks first thing in the morning.
There really is something to autumn, though, and I know that I’m not the only one who starts putting a pinch of cinnamon onto everything, and I’m definitely not the only one who welcomes the sight of pumpkins piled high in front of grocery stores. Am I right?
That’s why we’re equipping you to celebrate with a holiday you’ve probably never heard of but will also probably be game to observe anyway. It’s National Pumpkin Day on Friday, October 26, and we’re going all in.
Don’t reduce your pumpkin to a scary mantle decoration; pumpkins are packed with awesome flavor and health benefits. Here are the top 5 health benefits, according to Medical News Today:
Regulates blood pressure – The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C present in pumpkin all support heart health. Studies have shown that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Reduces cancer risk – Research has suggested a positive relationship between a beta-carotene-rich diet, and reduced risk of prostate cancer. Pumpkin is known to be one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene.
Combats diabetes – The plant compounds in pumpkin seeds and pulp are excellent for helping the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines, as well as balancing levels of liver glucose.
Great source of fiber – The recommended daily fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams and is not met by the majority of people in the U.S. Just one serving of cooked, fresh pumpkin contains nearly 3 grams of fiber while one serving of canned pumpkin contains over 7 grams.
Protects immunity – Pumpkin pulp and seeds are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene, which offer a boost to the immune system. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, which triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.
Want even more pumpkin in your life? Here are some fun pumpkin-y activities you can try:
Find your tribe of pumpkin enthusiasts at your local pumpkin festival.
Settle in with your edible pumpkin creation and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with your family.
Scroll down and start cooking!
Savory pumpkin recipes from around the web:
Pumpkin Chili (Gluten-Free) by The Edgy Veg – “This chili is made with a selection of beans and veggies, coated in a rich tomato base, and just the right amount of spice. It’s so easy to throw together and only uses one pot, so clean up is easy peasy. Plus, I guarantee that even the meat-lovers in your family will love this dish!”
Easy Thai Pumpkin Curry by Loving It – “You will love this fabulous vegan pumpkin curry, it is: hearty, satisfying, wholesome, Thai-inspired, super quick and easy, and just 10 ingredients (including the rice!)”
Alex’s Pureed Pumpkin & Wild Mushrooms on Sourdough by Deliciously Ella – “The incredible Alex from 26 Grains came to our kitchen today to demo the most beautiful recipe for pureed roast pumpkin on toast with wild mushrooms, garlic, tarragon, thyme, toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds. It sounds fancy but it was so easy, and I honestly couldn’t have loved it more.”
Pumpkin Mac ‘ N’ Cheese by The Minimalist Baker – “Once your pumpkin is roasted, it’s time to make the sauce, which is a simple mixture of ingredients like sage, garlic, nutritional yeast, almond milk, and vegan parmesan cheese. I added a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to add some warmth and spice as well as an optional pinch of red pepper flake for some heat.”
Sweet pumpkin recipes from Life & Health:
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal – Bet you never thought it was possible to have pumpkin for breakfast. This can be made in a crockpot overnight or in five minutes in the morning, so you have no excuse to squeeze this well-balanced pumpkin recipe in!
Pumpkin Muffins – Combining pumpkin with our favorite autumnal spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, these not-too-sweet muffins are perfect for a school lunchbox or plant-based office potluck.
Spiced Pumpkin Pie – Yes, vegan pumpkin pie. No matter how quickly the term “pumpkin pie” makes your mind turn to butter, milk, eggs, and whipped cream, pie can actually lend itself quite easily to vegan interpretations. (Dare we say it tastes better, too?)