Pumpkins are the ultimate symbol of fall. Bright and bountiful, these gorgeous globes burst onto the scene every autumn, starring in everything from pies to lattes, soups, bread, salads, and so much more. Everyone loves pumpkins, so why don’t we embrace them for more than a couple of months a year?
“Pumpkins are nutritional powerhouses – I don’t understand why we don’t eat them more!” says Chrissy Denton. According to the Hong Kong-based nutritionist, pumpkins are as healthy as they are delicious. “They provide us with high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, supporting everything from the immune system to our heart, liver and kidneys,” she explains.
Pumpkins are particularly rich in beta carotene, which gives them their signature radiant orange hue. Once consumed, our bodies convert that pigment into vitamin A – an essential building block for eye health. Pumpkins also deliver a dose of all-important antioxidants, powerful molecules that fight free radicals.
“Antioxidants help protect against things like cancer and other chronic conditions and lower the risk of heart disease,” says Denton, adding that vitamin C, a naturally occurring antioxidant in pumpkin, is also a natural stress-buster. “Our adrenal glands absolutely love vitamin C, and they help to regulate our body’s stress response – sometimes necessary over the holiday period!”
To properly harness this superfood’s potent nutritional benefits, Denton recommends incorporating it into our diets year-round. As a native New Zealander, she grew up with Sunday roast dinners, where roasted pumpkin drizzled in olive oil and fresh rosemary was a staple.
Her other favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin in the spring and summer include pumpkin hummus or roasted pumpkin salad. They also add more nutrients to sweet treats, such as bread loaves, muffins, cakes, or brownies.
Looking for some pumpkin recipe inspiration? Here is one of Denton’s favorite pumpkin-based recipes to try out any time of year.
The Recipe: Pumpkin & Ginger Soup
- 1 kg pumpkin
- 2 shallots
- 75g ginger
- A few sprigs of fresh herbs, such as chives and mint
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 litre organic vegetable stock
- 125 ml coconut milk, plus extra to serve
- ½ tablespoon chilli powder
- 1 lime
- Deseed and chop the pumpkin, peel and chop the shallots, then peel and finely grate the ginger. Pick and finely chop the herbs.
- Place the pumpkin, shallots, ginger and some oil in a large saucepan and sauté until soft.
- Add the stock, coconut milk and chilli powder. Season, then bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Blitz in a food processor, then serve with fresh herbs, lime juice and a splash of coconut milk.