The ABC’S of Nutrition & Health
By Dr. Joanne T. Gjelsten, Chiropractor
Eat Your Pumpkins, Pumpkin!
Thanks to the Native Americans, who showed the pilgrims how to dry the pulp for its use year round, we have a wonderful vegetable known as Pumpkins, Peter. From the French word “pampion” or sun baked squash, or Greek word “pepon” or melon, Native Americans boiled it, roasted or stewed it, used it for mulch, and to keep raccoons away from corn crops. Just imagine, Native Americans throwing pumpkins at the raccoons. No, the raccoons just didn’t develop a taste for pumpkin with their corn. The early colonists mixed it with corn meal for bread, made pudding, employed it for headless horsemen, and stored it for winter use.
There are several varieties of pumpkin, from the very large “Atlantic Giant”, “Big Max” (large fruit for showing; “see my big pumpkin, aren’t I talented with fertilizer?”), “Big Moon” (love that one; could I have a big moon?), medium sized “Connecticut Field”, the snotty pumpkins, & “Howdens”, the friendly ones, to the small “Munchkin”, “Spookie” and “Oz”, oh my!
As we all know, the Jack O Lantern is good for carving, but the larger ones are stringy to eat, especially after the squirrels have gotten hold of it. The “Sugar Pie” variety is great for cooking & baking as it’s sweet and smooth sugah pie!
We all know you can get pumpkin in cans, but did you know you too can bake your very own? Oh the heck with all those convenient cans! Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, cut and scooped out, cut side down, the pumpkin that is, and you too can look like, well, Julia Child, but only if you’re very tall, and speak in a falsetto voice, Vinnie. You can then scoop out the innards and use them for your fabulous pie, bread, cookies, cheesecake, mousse, floor wax, pudding, and soups. You can dry the seeds overnight, sprinkle with oil and salt and bake for 30 min. at 300 degrees or until golden brown. Add to salads, burgers, cooked veggies, cookies, or grind them into your favorite salad dressing. You can add them to cereal, hot or cold, or eat them plain as a snack!
Makes you look at a pumpkin the way early American folks did. Of course the early native Americans weren’t as upset about their prostates as we are. Ok not all of us, but at least half of us. The seeds have cucurbitacins (say that 3 times fast) that may help to block the conversion of testosterone to DHT(dihydrotestosterone), not a good thing for the prostate, guys, ‘n gals of guys. The zinc in pumpkin seeds may help to prevent BPH, a handy little acronym for benign prostatic hypertrophy, or enlargement of the prostate. Zinc also helps to prevent osteoporosis in men; yes in men, men, so be a man and eat your pumpkin seeds like your wife tells you to! The pulp is low in fat, 49 calories per cup, high in Vitamin C (general health, skin, bones, healing, immune system), vitamin A (skin, hair, nails), potassium (heart health), calcium (bones, nerves), magnesium (PMS, blood pressure, fire crackers), fiber (colon blow), & beta-carotene, (sounds like some kind of exotic fish), (helps support cancer prevention; beta-carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A & the body makes it as needed so you can’t overdose, but you can turn orange if need be. The seeds are high in zinc, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and much more. Some research suggests that pumpkin has some anti-inflammatory properties. Wow what a food! Every year there is actually a pumpkin meeting in Mt. Holly, NJ. I wonder what the pumpkins talk about? Disclaimer: where I exclaim in tiny writing: The products and claims made about specific products in this article have not been evaluated by any regulatory health authority and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided in this article and all articles by Joanne Gjelsten, Doctor of Chiropractor, is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a healthcare professional, your Doctor, before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. 845 358 2687. Offices in Nyack and Chestnut Ridge. By Appt. www.godrjo.com