Halloween Less Scary with Cancer-fighting Pumpkin Recipe
Everywhere you look this time of year, you’ll see pumpkins. In windows, on porches, and we hope on your dinner table. In the spirit of helping you eat healthier and enjoy this spooky holiday, here are the cancer-fighting benefits of pumpkins, ideas on how to cook and prepare whole pumpkins, and a delicious pumpkin recipe.
How Pumpkins Help Fight Cancer
- Fiber: As with all fruits and vegetables, pumpkin is a good source of fiber. One study shows that those who ate the most dietary fiber had an 11 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to those who ate the least.
- Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is converted into the body to Vitamin A, a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the body against free radicals, which can cause cancer. Pumpkin is one of the highest sources of beta-carotene delivering 17mg per cup. Pair it with a healthy fat, such as olive oil, to boost absorption of beta-carotene.
- Phytoestrogens: Pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrogens, a plant compound that mimics the human hormone estrogen and can help prevent breast cancer according to one study.
- Low-calorie: Pumpkin is a source of low-calorie nutrition, which reduces the risk of obesity, a major factor in breast cancer.
Cooking a Pumpkin
Cooking a fresh pumpkin is intimidating. It’s a large, tough-looking fruit (yes, it’s a fruit). But it’s much easier to get inside to the yummy good stuff than you think. Here’s an online resource where you can find out how to cut, prepare, and cook an actual pumpkin. You can even purée extra pumpkins and freeze it for later. Canned pumpkin (not the same as pumpkin pie filling) has many of the same benefits of fresh pumpkin, but as with most processed foods, not all the benefits. So use fresh if you can. You can find lots of great pumpkin recipes here.
And don’t forget about the seeds. They pack magnesium, a mineral that may ward off migraines and improve sleep. A great extra benefit, expecially if you’re experiencing these symptoms during your cancer treatments. Just swish the seeds in water to separate them from the pulp. Drain, then spread on an oiled pan. Dry 10 minutes at 350°F (stir once). Toss with oil and seasonings. Bake, stirring, until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
A Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe for Halloween
- 4 shallots
- 2 tsp butter
- 2 garlic
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 tbsp curry spice
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili sauce
- 15 oz pumpkin
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 unsweetened coconut milk
Sauté shallots in butter until they are softened. Add garlic cloves, ginger, and curry spice. Stir in the kosher salt, water, pumpkin, broth, and coconut milk. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 30 minutes. That’s it.