DENVER -- It's Fall and time for all things pumpkin. Your hot pumpkin spice latte with pumpkin muffins or a slice of pumpkin pie. There’s even a pumpkin spice burger.
Nutrition experts at the Cleveland Clinic say the pumpkin is rich in nutrients that can ward off disease and fiber.
The vibrant orange color indicates that pumpkins are high in beta carotene, a compound that boosts immunity, and helps to protect your eyes.
Ellie Freeman, a Denver based registered dietician and holistic nutritionist, says foods in the squash family are high in omega 3 fatty acids and can boost seratonin levels, which lift your mood.
“It's interesting to think that root vegetables which are complex carbohydrates are in season when we need our mood to be boosted,” Freeman says.
Experts say canned pumpkin is fine, but if the label says pumpkin pie mix it likely has added sugar and salt.
It’s important to discern the difference between real pumpkin and artificial flavorings.
If you want to make your own dishes with fresh pumpkin, use one that has not been carved or exposed to bacteria. Wash it thoroughly, slice through the rind and spoon out the flesh.
Cook as recommended in your recipe. You can also roast pumpkin seeds for 20 minutes for a snack high in zinc and vitamin E.