Did you know that between 2016 and 2018, each American used 6.5 pounds of pumpkin each year on average?1 You read that right: 6.5 pounds per person. That’s a lot of pumpkins! But who can blame them? This sweet, seasonal squash hails from North America and has been cultivated for millennia, and nowadays comes in two main types: those for decorating and those for pies.1 Pie pumpkins are usually smaller, denser, and sweeter than decorative pumpkins.1 But it turns out even pie pumpkins offer more than just another form of pie to enjoy.
The Surprising Nutritious Value Of This Seasonal Squash
Canned pumpkin (the kind used in most recipes) packs a delicious dose of all sorts of nutrients, including Vitamin A, dietary fiber, Calcium, Vitamin C, and Iron.2
A mere ½ cup of canned pumpkin provides:2
14,000 IU (4200 RAE) of Vitamin A
3 g of Dietary Fiber
5 mg of Vitamin C
40 mg of Calcium
1 mg of Iron (4% of the Daily Value)
Pumpkin seeds offer up a few other unique minerals as well. In only ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds, you’ll find:3
3 mg of Iron
165 mg of Magnesium
230 mg of Potassium
2 mg of Zinc
All of these are important nutrients in their own right. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that helps support healthy vision, healthy skin, and a healthy immune system. 4 Dietary fiber is a group of various plant compounds that support digestive health. Vitamin C is a known antioxidant and immune system support nutrient, which helps neutralize free radicals in the body.5 Calcium is required by the body to support strong bones and muscles.6 Iron is a mineral the body uses to make red blood cells and is required for normal growth and development.7 Magnesium is important to support bone health and for the body’s ability to regulate muscle and nerve functions.8 Potassium is required by the body for almost everything it does, including heart, muscle, and nerve functions.9 And Zinc is an essential mineral found throughout the body that helps support a healthy immune system, and is vital for normal growth and development.10 Between canned pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, you can get hefty amounts of each of these nutrients, and that’s just a brief overview of everything they have to offer!
So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans partaking in pumpkin pie this fall, go ahead and yourself a slice. Or find a whole new recipe to try!
5 Pumpkin Recipes That Go Beyond The Pie
Here are 5 recipes if you’re interested in enjoying more of this surprisingly nutritious squash this fall:
Corrie became a nutritional nerd the second she learned about trans fats in college. Ever since then, she’s been trying to figure out easy life hacks for staying healthy without making her entire world about workouts and kale. She’s dedicated the last few years of her career to writing fun, educational content to help make good nutrition a little less boring and a little more accessible to non-scientists like herself. When she’s not scrolling through new research on gut health, you can find her playing Magic the Gathering or tending to her many (somehow still living) plants.
Carroll is a nutrition scientist and communicator with over 25 years of experience as a clinician, researcher, and educator at major universities, medical centers, and nutrition industry settings. She is a passionate advocate of nutritional health and established the nutrition education and science platforms at Pharmavite. Carroll is an expert in personalized nutrition and has published several scientific papers on vitamin and mineral inadequacies and the impact on health and wellbeing. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Carroll taught nutrition at UCLA Medical School and Santa Monica College and was a chief clinical dietitian and researcher.