With the season of goodies and goblins just around the corner, the autumnal rituals of pumpkin picking, carving, and delicious pie-making have arrived. Before you toss out the gooey parts of your orange gourd, discover the hidden health benefits of pumpkins, both inside and out.
As one of the most nutritional foods available year round, the pumpkin is so much more than a seasonal craft with a crooked smile. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting, disease-fighting nutrients, including:
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
The alpha and beta-carotene found in pumpkins are potent antioxidants, which convert to vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and ensures proper immune function, while alpha-carotene is thought to slow the aging process, prevent tumor growth, and reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Carotenoids also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease.
Great on Your Skin
During the colder months, we need more exfoliation to slough off dead skin cells and help underlying skin absorb our skincare products. Pumpkin is an amazing natural skin treatment helping to restore and reverse skin damage from the sun. High-end pumpkin skincare products are available in stores, but why not skip the preservatives and make your own?
Check out the following recipes, and turn pumpkin scraps into treatments your skin is sure to love. It's as easy as pie!
Remember: these skin-loving pumpkin mixtures won’t last long, so if you have extra, store it tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. You’ll never look at a pumpkin the same way again!
Pumpkin Face Mask
1 tbsp cooked or canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp milk or whipping cream
1 tsp jojoba or almond oil (canola oil will work, too)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1. Combine ingredients and apply to a clean face with soft circular motions. Be sure to avoid the delicate eye area.
2. Leave mask on for 10 - 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and apply your favorite moisturizer.
Honey replenishes collagen, jojoba or almond oil moisturizes, ginger draws out toxins while cinnamon improves circulation—all essential for skin health.
Pumpkin, Sugar and Spice Body Scrub
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.
2. Apply the mixture with a damp washcloth in a tub or shower. Start with your feet and work your way up, avoiding your face. Scrub gently using circular motions.
3. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.