Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin: One for Your Porch, One for Your Plate

When you grab a pumpkin for your fall porch this year, grab one for your plate, too. Why? Two really good reasons: Pumpkin makes an incredibly rich and flavorful base for all sorts of soups, stews, and desserts. And it’s absolutely packed with blood-pressure-friendly nutrients.

Halloween Help for Your Heart

Pumpkin flesh is crammed full of phenols -- a type of health-promoting antioxidant that’s found in many plant-based foods. But pumpkin phenols may have particularly body-kind qualities. In cell studies, phenols from pumpkin flesh put a damper on the same enzyme that some blood pressure drugs target to reduce vascular tension. In other words, the phenols in pumpkin may help keep blood vessels relaxed, which means better blood pressure and better heart health. (Here’s another fun way to relax your blood vessels.)

Save the Seeds

When you scoop out your pumpkin, save the seeds so you can roast them. Pumpkin seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid -- a healthy fat that also helps protect blood vessels. No time to cook fresh pumpkin? No problem. Use canned pureed pumpkin. It’s precooked, tastes great, and is just as good for you. BTW, cooking pumpkin seems to enhance its phenolic properties.

Recipe Corner

Of course, pumpkin is best known as a great pie filling. But put a new twist on it with this quick, simple, and yum-o recipe from EatingWell: Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie. And when you’re ready to expand beyond dessert, try EatingWell’s easy, breezy Pumpkin Popovers.

~ Via Real Age.