an amazing display of pumpkins at this roadside junction.
Brightly colored pumpkins of every shape and size flirted with
us to take them home. So we filled our carts (make it two
carts) and hauled them home — some for decoration and others
for eating. And all for the fun of this, my favorite season.
are big business this time of year, say those who analyze such
things. Everything from pumpkin-flavored almonds to coffee are
does the brilliant orange color of our beloved pumpkins tell
us about their nutritional value? According to the University
of Illinois Extension Service, orange is a dead giveaway that
pumpkins are loaded with beta carotene, a substance with
antioxidant properties that keep us from aging prematurely and
also offer protection from heart disease and some types of
antioxidants work? According to the National Cancer Institute,
they neutralize and render harmless certain bodily substances
called free radicals that can damage our cells if left
unchecked. Beta carotene is the main antioxidant in pumpkins
and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables. Other
antioxidants include lycopene (a red pigment in fruits and
vegetables), and vitamins A, C and E.
interesting note: A variety of scientific studies have found
that taking supplements of antioxidants may not be as
protective against cancer and other diseases as ingesting
these substance in food. What’s the difference? Individual
purified nutrients may not be effective in promoting health as
the complex combination of substances in food. That’s
probably the reason, say researchers, that diets rich in
fruits, vegetables and whole grains show great promise at
delaying chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
brings me back to pumpkins, please. Besides being a rich
source of antioxidants, pumpkins are what nutrition experts
call "nutrient-dense" foods; they pack a ton of
nutrients into each calorie. For example, for less than 50
calories, a cup of cooked pumpkin provides protein, calcium,
iron, potassium and a host of other vitamins and minerals.
am I kidding? We don’t often just eat plain pumpkin, now do
we? Case in point: my daughter’s killer pumpkin dessert,
enriched with eggs, butter, sugar and spices. Yes, those same
good nutrients are there, just with a few gazillion more
calories. To which I am reminded, as autumn blows us into
pumpkin season…small portions, please.