Since the first leaf turned a slight hue of red, people across the country began preparing for what may be the best season of all – autumn.
Swimsuits and sandals have been slowly replaced with sweaters and scarves, and the only thing that takes the nip away from the cool autumn air is hot apple cider. Streets are lined with bright decorative pumpkins and even the restaurants begin showcasing pumpkin on their menu.
While nothing says ‘autumn’ better than the faint smell of pumpkin spice, these superfoods offer more than just a beloved latte flavor. With 45 different varieties of pumpkins, ranging from squash to classic jack-o-lanterns, these vegetables allow for versatility in the kitchen. In addition to being tasty, pumpkins are also one of the top cancer-fighting foods individuals can add to their diet as they are packed with antioxidants and nutrients.
Each variety has a high content of carotene and beta-carotene, antioxidants that are common in yellow and orange foods. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which may protect against certain cancers. Many researchers have found that people who consume a higher percentage of carotene and beta-carotene had a significantly lower risk of cancer in the stomach, throat, pancreas, and breast when compared with people who consumed lower percentages.
These antioxidants are also converted into vitamin A, an essential nutrient. Vitamin A plays an important role in many bodily functions and has even been found to promote eye health. A recent study, however, has even linked vitamin A to preventing skin cancer. This study followed the health of participants and documented their intake of vitamin A over a period of 26 years. The study suggested that participants who had a higher intake of vitamin A had a lower risk of developing skin cancer.
However, one of the most inarguably healthy nutrients packed inside a pumpkin is fiber. Fiber offers great benefits to the digestive system. A healthy digestive system can aid in weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation and reduced colon cancer risk.
Eager to start your day with a cancer-fighting pumpkin breakfast? Try this pumpkin pie smoothie bowl!
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl
Time: <10 minutes
1 cup pumpkin puree frozen into cubes
1 frozen banana
1 medjool date, pitted
1 tablespoon natural almond butter OR peanut butter
1 teaspoon raw turmeric root
¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup of water (note: adding more water will make a thinner consistency, creating a drink rather than a bowl)
Drizzle of coconut milk
*Make your own pumpkin pie spice by combining 3 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Store in an airtight container and use this recipe in lattes, breads, cookies, or any autumn treat!
- Place all ingredients aside from garnish in a blender and blend on low for 60-90 seconds, or until smooth and creamy
- Divide into two bowls and top with your favorite granola, a drizzle of coconut milk, pumpkin seeds, and a dash of pumpkin spice
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