October 3, 2020
Pumpkin Perfect: Tuscan Sun's Top 5 Benefits of Pumpkin
It’s that time of year—the leaves are changing, the air is becoming crisp and cool, and it’s about time to break out our favorite fall sweaters! With fall in full swing, many people are overjoyed by the return of the world’s favorite fall ingredient, PUMPKIN! It’s no secret that pumpkin has become THE most popular autumn commodity; whether it’s in our overpriced lattes, desserts, home fragrances, we just can’t get enough of those pumpkin-infused delights! However, aside from the scrumptious scents and tasty treats, pumpkin can have some pretty amazing health and beauty benefits. So, if you’re not familiar with all that this bold ‘n beautiful fruit has to offer, allow us to introduce Tuscan Sun’s top five health and beauty benefits of pumpkin!
1. Skin Health
In addition to being packed with flavor, pumpkin is also full of vitamins, specifically vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fruit enzymes that can take your skin’s appearance from drab to fab in no time!
Vitamin A helps protect your skin from sun damage and prevents the breakdown of collagen, which is extremely important because collagen is a protein that serves as one of the main “building blocks” of our skin. In addition, vitamin C also protects skin from UV radiation that can be caused by excess sun exposure, as well as prevents excess melanin production, which can cause hyper-pigmentation and brown spots.
What about vitamin E?
Vitamin E can strengthen and moisturize our skin by helping repair its moisture barrier. Vitamin E is also a strong antioxidant that helps defend skin against pollution and other environmental influences that may harm it.
In addition to vitamins, pumpkin is also plentiful with fruit enzymes, which can work to exfoliate and keep skin looking bright and youthful by dissolving dead skin and leaving behind healthier cells for a radiant glow!
Oh look . . . yet another good excuse to have that second piece of pie!
2. Hair Growth
It's no secret that our hair is our crowning glory . . . literally! If you find yourself in search of a completely natural way to increase the rate at which hair grows and glows, look no further; it's pumpkin to the rescue!
If you're discovering more hair in the brush and sink than what is on your head, adding pumpkin to your diet is a great way to reduce the rate and amount of hair loss, as well as a fantastic means by which to grow a thicker, healthier-looking head of hair. Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which can help block hormones that contribute to hair loss on the scalp. It also contains generous amounts of potassium and zinc, which work to promote collagen production and can result in hair growth.
3. Weight Loss
Okay, so that second piece of pumpkin pie may not be a good idea if you’re wanting to shed some unwanted weight, especially this time of year; however, pumpkin itself can be incorporated into a variety of healthy recipes and prepared in a way that aids weight loss efforts. In addition to being nutrient-rich and providing our bodies with liberal amounts of essential vitamins that promote weight loss, pumpkin is also low in calories and, when consumed properly, can result in fantastic digestive health. Who knew?!
4. Boost Energy
As previously mentioned, pumpkin can perform wonders for our digestive systems due to its remarkable amount of fiber, which not only helps regulate digestion but can also provide a significant energy boost. Because fiber slows down digestion, it also slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream. When glucose is released into the bloodstream too quickly, it can result in a rush of energy trailed by a sudden “crash.” Fiber, such as that found in pumpkin, not only increases energy levels but helps maintain them throughout the day. Yay for regularity!
5. Immune System
Pumpkin is a rich source of antioxidants, which work to boost our immune systems. Certain anatomical processes cause our bodies to create waste, which in turn causes them to produce highly reactive molecules called "free radicals." Free radicals are highly unstable and can damage cells, which can in turn result in a compromised immune system. Antioxidants, like those found in pumpkin, are not only beneficial but essential to our health because they neutralize these free radicals and prevent them from causing cellular damage, thus boosting and protecting our immune systems, something that is perhaps needed more now than ever.
- 1 c. pumpkin
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. shortening
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. raisins
- 1 c. walnuts (roughly chopped & lightly toasted)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tbsp butter (softened)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Half & Half (to thicken)
- Mixing bowl
- Electric mixer
- Parchment Paper
- Mixing spoon or spatula
- Ice-cream scoop (optional)
- Parchment paper
- Un-greased cookie sheet
- Preheat oven to 375º F
- In a large mixing bowl, add pumpkin and sugar. Stir until well blended.
- Using an electric mixer, add shortening to pumpkin sugar blend, mixing until completely melded.
- Continuing with the electric mixer, add flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins. Continue mixing until well blended.
- Fold in walnuts using a spoon or spatula. Continue until walnuts are evenly dispersed in mixture.
- Line un-greased cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a spoon or ice-cream scoop, drop mixture into spall dollops onto the parchment paper, approximately 1 to 2 inches apart.
- Place in oven at 375º F for 12 to 14 mins.
- Ice cookies once completely cooled
- Add confectioners’ sugar, butter, and vanilla to small mixing bowl, stirring until well blended.
- Slowly stir in half & half until mixture has thickened or reaches icing consistency.