We are well into Autumn and Halloween is upon us (and maybe the Brexit leave, or not!). As it has suddenly got colder we need to support our bodies with a change of food too and there are some superb options available which folks so often overlook.

All members of the squash family, though full of water, are also packed full of nutrients too, especially the carotenoids which give many their orange colour. At this time of year we are mainly eating the winter squashes – those with harder, sun-dried skins vs the thin skinned ones (like courgettes and patty pans) such as pumpkins, butternut squashes and the like.

The Americans are much better at eating and using these fruits that the Brits, which is a shame, so I thought I would try to inspire you to eat more!

Eat more seasonal fruits and veg for boosting your health and staving off coughs and cold!

Posted by Living Elements Clinic on Monday, 28 October 2019

On the video you get my top tip for carving out your pumpkin – ready for face carving, as they DO require some elbow grease and effort if you are trying to keep them whole. A slightly pointy metal icecream scoop is by far my preferred tool as I find plastic tools, as well as being not environmentally friendly, are just not up to the task!

If you aren’t carving… then you can cut them up into slices, chunks, slithers etc and then a whole world of fun cooking and eating awaits!

One of my favourites is a pumpkin curry or stew – for vegan, substitute the pumpkin for the meat. Garlic and onions boost the immunity as do the herbs and spices – For ease -use a shop bought bottle if you don’t want to learn how to mix up and supply the different spices. It’s quick too!

How about pumpkin soup? Instead of cream use coconut milk for the vegan equivalent. You can add warming spices too – ginger and cinnamon and cumin go really well and warm you too.

How about pumpkin crisps?! Thinly slice and then lay out on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray and slowly heat in the oven on LOW to dry them out. You could also sprinkle with cumin or paprika. Keep an eye on them so that they do not burn..

Pumpkin leather – use the pulp mixture to create a 0.5cm layer on a baking tray and dehydrate slowly as above. They should remain pliable once finished. Before they cool – cut into long strips. Store in a well sealed container. They should keep if dry enough for about 6 weeks.

Roasted pumpkins are divine and the simplest option! Just slice up, sprinkle with some olive oil and salt / pepper and spices of you wish – roast with the rest of our veg. The best ones are called Crown Prince and are a blue-grey squash but still orange inside.

Why am I so keen on these autumnal offerings? The carotenoids – alpha and beta, are very high in these vegetables as well as magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C, tryptophan in the seeds.

Did you know:

A single cup of cooked pumpkin is loaded with 564 milligrams of potassium, the refuelling mineral that can help you to recover after a particularly intense session on the treadmill. Surprisingly, a banana has just 422!

Just some of the benefits include –

They are packed with beta-carotenes which convert to Vitamin A. This essential vitamin is important for eye health, helping the retina to absorb and process light. Just a single serving of pumpkin contains over 200% of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it easy to get an additional boost. Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are said to help to prevent cataracts.

Research from the National Cancer Institute shows that people who eat a beta-carotene-rich diet may have a lower risk of some types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.

Feeling blue? Pumpkin seeds are instant mood boosters. This is because they are a brilliant source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is converted to serotonin, a chemical associated with healthy sleep and happiness. The body cannot make tryptophan on its own, so having a batch of pumpkin seeds to snack on is an easy way to get more of it into your diet. Just save them and dry them or gently roast them. Delicious!

Lastly, if you are throwing out the skins… please hang them up in the garden or secrete (cut up) under shrubs for the wildlife – they are loved by all sorts of rodents and birds, deer and hedgehogs (those that are still about). #Recycle, #reuse, #repurpose.

If you have enjoyed reading this post please share with your friends. I look forward to hearing YOUR best pumpkin recipes and ideas!

Your health IS my priority!

Did you realise that Osteopaths are also trained to advice about nutrition and exercise as well as “fix” bad backs?! #OsteopathyWorks because it is a WHOLE system of healthcare.

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