Pumpkins, full of great nutrition and carotenoids, are not just for pies

imagesHealthy smoothies have become very popular in the last couple of years. I have tried everything from fruit smoothies to green smoothies (smoothies filled with healthy fruit and spinach as well as other greens). But I will have to be honest with you, I had never tried a “pumpkin” smoothie until the other day. Trust me, it was delicious!

My company fitPrescriptions does some wellness consulting at The Bristol Slater Center and my daughter Allie, fixed smoothies every Friday in July for the wonderful participants. After they did their workout they came in and enjoyed a nice, healthy treat. This was in July so the smoothies were extra refreshing after a great workout. Then October rolled around and the theme was pumpkin, so we decided to try pumpkin smoothies. Not only were they delicious, but they are also so nutritious. Following are some great facts about pumpkin.

Pumpkin is a little jewel full of great nutrition pumpkins_3_testand carotenoids including beta carotene, which gives it that beautiful orange color. Carotenoids are known for keeping the immune system strong and healthy. Beta carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body.

The good news is that current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and may even offer protection against heart disease and eye diseases. Beta carotene can also offer protection against a host of other degenerative diseases. The most abundant carotenoids in the North American diet are beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, lycopene, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin. I cannot even pronounce the names of some of the carotenoids found in our foods, but I sure do look for veggies and fruit that contain those colors for a sure sign of a healthy choice. Have you ever seen a green or brightly colored Twinkie? Think about it.

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I wanted to share this recipe by Fiona Haynes:

Healthy Pumpkin Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 very ripe medium-sized banana

3/4 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (I used Oikos 0 percent fat Greek vanilla yogurt)

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup crushed ice

Preparation:

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, making sure the ice is completely crushed. Makes two servings.

Per 8-10 ounce serving: Calories 167, Calories from Fat 5, Total Fat 0.7g (aat 0.3g), Cholesterol 2mg, Sodium 74mg, Carbohydrate 34g, Fiber 3.1g, Protein

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source: TriCities by Linda Stollings

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