“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people:
Religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”
-Linus, Peanuts, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, 1966 animated television special.
Well Linus, we Brainfoodies agree with most of your famous statement, pretty sound advice this time of year for the workplace… But we do think it’s time we all started talking about just how great the pumpkin, one of our favorite Brainfoods, truly is!
To get the facts straight, pumpkins belong to the gourd family, which includes melons, cucumber and squashes. They are round, come in all sizes, are orange and awesome. They are of course fun to carve as jack-o-lanterns and make one of the most delicious pies around. Yum! But let’s dig in and learn what makes this gourd so great for Brainfoodies of all ages.
Pumpkin seeds are actually one of the most nutritious (and delicious) seeds to eat. They are true Brainfood containing Omega 3 and Omega 6, making them one Smart Snack for you and of course your kids! The Omega 3 fatty acids are of course known for their role in improving mental health, aiding memory and supporting healthy brain development.
So if you and your kids are getting ready to carve that Halloween pumpkin this weekend– don’t toss the seeds! Toast them, roast them, or grind them and make them sprinklable, but don’t miss the opportunity to teach your kids about this awesome superfood!
You can sprinkle pumpkin seeds ground or whole on your favorite yogurt, along with raisins, fruit, honey, or even carob chips for a Smart Snack! Or grind them up extra fine and add them to any delicious smoothie. We’ve actually got a great pumpkin smoothie recipe for you on our website too! Eat Smart and try it out! http://www.bitsysbrainfood.com/parents/recipes.html#buck_seasonal_smoothie
The Brainfood benefits of pumpkin go well beyond just omegas. Pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of magnesium, which has a calming effect on the brain. Who doesn’t need a little zen during this time of year! Maybe that’s why holiday season has always included pumpkin pie? Food for thought: if your kids are going into orbit from Halloween sugar next week, consider throwing a few pumpkin seeds into the mix to get everyone’s feet back on the ground.
Not only can you get your “zen” from pumpkin seeds, you can also get your “zinc.” Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which is mega-important for the healthy functioning of the brain, immune system, skin functions and more.
Now if you’re not already half way out the door to stock up on pumpkins while their still lining the front entrance of your local market – wait –there’s more!
Here’s a little tidbit to help ease your guilt when you go for the Halloween candy yourself – I know I personally can’t resist! Everywhere I go those little mini pieces of tempting chocolate are there! Well some studies show that pumpkin seeds even help burn fat. Given our country’s obesity rates, pumpkin seeds should be considered a year-round Smart Snack.
Pumpkin meat itself is extremely high in anti-oxidants and beta-carotene. Anti-oxidants can help strengthen our immune system while beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A, which helps reduce the risk of cancer and other dangerous diseases. Fun fact for little Brainfoodies – beta-carotene is what makes pumpkins orange!
Pumpkins are also low in fat and calories, and high in potassium, fiber, and good carbohydrates. Brainfoodies know that while carbs can get a bad rap, they are actually the main energy source for the brain.
Don’t dismiss canned pumpkin this season either – it contains all of the pumpkin meat nutrients listed above such as vitamin c, calcium and iron.
Linus, even though Lucy and the rest of the gang may give you grief for waiting for the Great Pumpkin on Halloween night, we’ll join you in the pumpkin patch anytime.
Eat Smart. Be Smart.