Pumpkins, For You and Your Eyes

Pumpkins, For You and Your EyesIt is finally that time of year! Sweaters, leaves changing colors, hot chocolate, corn mazes, and pumpkin picking! Not only is pumpkin picking a fun activity to do with friends and family, it can also be extremely beneficial for your eyes. Did you know that pumpkins have all sorts of nutrients that help protect the health of your eyes?

Pumpkins are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin, which makes them a perfect treat for your vision and health. They are also full of antioxidants, which help fight different types of illnesses in the body. But what do all of these things actually do for your eyes?

  • Vitamin A – protects your cornea and actually helps your eyes to be able to see better in low lighting
  • Vitamin C – acts to reduce the risk of macular degeneration
    • Did you know that macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults?
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin – antioxidants that reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and They also can filter out harmful light from your eyes
  • Zinc – essential for delivering Vitamin A to the retina in order to produce melanin
    • Melanin is what gives our eyes their color, it also helps protect our eyes from the sun and the harmful rays it produces. Fun Fact: light eyes are more sensitive to the sun than darker eyes because they have less pigment than dark

Overall, eating pumpkin can give your eyes a variety of nutrients that have a wide array of health benefits. It is, however, very important to realize that not all pumpkin based foods have the same level of nutrients. Rather than opting for a pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, consider going for something with less sugar and more pumpkin. Baked pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack! Also consider making pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin, or a pumpkin smoothie to get those nutrients!

We hope you enjoy the Fall season and try some of these yummy pumpkin recipes!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from “Inspired Taste”

You Will Need

  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, melted coconut oil, or nut oil like walnut
  • 2 teaspoons of your favorite spice blend, such as curry powder, harissa, and chili powder

 

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F – line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 cups of water and season with 2 teaspoons of Bring to a boil
  • Scoop the seeds from your Add the pumpkin seeds to a bowl filled with cold water and swish them around until the seeds float and are mostly clean
  • Add cleaned seeds to the boiling Simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and pull away any remaining pumpkin attached to the seeds
  • Scatter the seeds onto clean dishcloths and pat them very Mound the dried seeds onto the prepared baking sheet. Add the oil and any spices on top, then toss until well coated.
  • Spread the seeds into one Bake, stirring the seeds at least once during bake time, until fragrant and golden around the edges, 10-25 minutes, depending on size of the seeds.

 

Pumpkin Soup from “Delish”

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb pumpkin (preferably sugar pie)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream, plus more for garnish

 

Directions

  • In a heavy soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat, heat Add onion and garlic and cook until golden
  • Meanwhile, halve, peel, adn scrape out seeds of the pumpkin. Cut in chunks
  • Add pumpkin chunks and broth to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat to Simmer until pumpkin is fork-tender, about 30 mins.
  • Remove pot from heat, using an immersion blender, blend mixture until (If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool and then use a regular blender to blend). Stir in cream and season to taste.
  • To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add a swirl of cream, and garnish with pepper

 

Pumpkin Smoothie from “Budget Bytes”

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 medium banana, frozen
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk

 

Instructions

  • Add everything to a blender
  • Blend until You may need to stop to stir once or twice. If the smoothie is too thick, add a touch more of milk or even a little water

 

Roasted Pumpkin from “The Minimalist Baker”

Ingredients

  • 1 sugar pumpkin (2-3 lbs)
  • 1 tbsp coconut or avocado oil (if avoiding oil, use water)
  • 1 pinch sea salt

 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise (removing the top and bottom is optional). Then use a sharp spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape out all of the seeds and strings
  • Brush the pumpkin flesh with oil, sprinkle with salt, and place flesh side down on the baking sheet. Pierce skin a few times with a fork or knife to let steam escape
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the Then remove the pan from

the oven, let the pumpkin cool for 10 minutes, then scoop out and use for whatever dish you prefer.

 

What To Do With Roasted Pumpkin

  • Pumpkin Mac n Cheese
  • Pumpkin Pie Bars
  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
  • Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
  • Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
  • Pumpkin Puree
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