Add Pumpkin to Your Diet

indexThanksgiving recently passed and chances are, you ate a slice of pumpkin pie. Luckily, if you’re going to eat dessert, pumpkin offers plenty of health benefits. Plus, the calories in pumpkin pie number significantly less than fruit pies. Pumpkin-flavored food is everywhere during the season, and here are a few reasons to add pumpkin into your diet. Just be cautious with all the sugar-laden treats.

– Pumpkins aid in digestion. We’ve all experienced gastrointestinal distress during a run and it makes for a painful workout. Anything high in fiber can help.

– Pumpkins are one of the best post-workout treats. We’ve all heard bananas are a runner’s dream food with its high potassium levels. Actually, pumpkin offers even more potassium. One cup of cooked pumpkin has more potassium with 564 mg to a banana’s 422 mg.

– They are an immune booster. No one wants to get sick before a race–adding in pumpkin with its high iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin E content will keep you healthy and your cells working properly.

– They help with weight loss. For runners, the lighter you are, the less work your body has to do while you run. Lighter weight is better for your knees, back and overall speed. Because of pumpkins’ fiber content, three grams for one cup serving, it makes you feel fuller longer.

– Pumpkins may aid in keeping cancer away. Because the majority of runners take their workouts to the trails or pavement, risk of skin cancer can be high and the oxidative stress causes the body to age much faster than normal. The carotenoids in pumpkin  help keep cancer cells and wrinkles away.

– The seeds help your heart. Because pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which research has shown to help reduce bad cholesterol, runners eating pumpkin seeds can strengthen one of their most vital organs necessary to their sport. Try eating them for a snack a couple of hours before you workout.