The Pumpkin – The Ultimate Functional Food

 dietsWith Halloween slowly crawling up, and there appears to be bright and colorful pumpkins everywhere, you may be wondering if there are other uses for the pumpkin, after all, it is seasonal, and it seems to make for a bit of a waste that you only use it as a decorative jack-o-lantern for carving up, and then throwing out.  You could compost it, but with so many other uses, that seems like an awful shame when there are so many other options and uses of a more creative nature. So let’s run down a few ways that the festive pumpkin is a truly functional food.

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Adding Pumpkin to Your Diets as a Puree.

While not the most healthy food when used alongside heavy creams and sugar, pumpkin puree is the likely the top use for the inside of the pumpkin. First you cut the pumpkin, then scoop out the seeds and flesh from the insides, then set them aside. Place your newly functional food face down in a dish with some water, and bake until the insides are tender. Then you simply scoop out the insides and place them in a food processor. This can now be added to any number of baking recipes, but keep in mind that many of them are not considered to be healthy food.  Whether you choose to use this functional food as a part of a pie recipe, or a cake or even breakfast foods like pancakes is up to you, but the maximize the health content, maybe consider cutting down on the sugar.

Use the Pumpkin as a Functional Food for Diets and Beauty, Too!

While certain recipes you make might not make the pumpkin a healthy food, there is one use for the pumpkin that spares you all of the calories, but will still use it up so that it doesn’t end up wasting away in compost. Pumpkins are full of a whole variety of different vitamins which make it a viable option as a way to relax and pamper yourself. With vitamins such as zinc, vitamins A, C and E applying it to your skin could be one of the better options for how to use this functional food. Consider a face mask as a way to relax, the aromatherapy qualities of the pumpkin could be relaxing, too.  If you find the pumpkin too thick by itself, add some water or milk to thin it out.

A More Healthy Food Option, Using the Insides of the Pumpkin

Use the guts of the pumpkin have uses, and shouldn’t be automatically considered trash, by any means. The guts are the stringy pieces that attach the seeds together that most people scoop out and throw away. But there are functional food properties of the guts of the pumpkin as well.  Consider that you could use the insides of the pumpkin as flavorful pumpkin stock, or separate the seeds and use them as a snack later. You can choose to make them a healthy food and not add salt, or you can sprinkle some on to crank up the flavor even more.