Pumpkins are not just a favorite fall decoration; they also make an appearance on many an autumn menu. That is good news for your taste buds and great news for your eyes. Pumpkins are rich in zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin, making them a treat for your vision and overall health.

That may all sound great, but what exactly do those vitamins and minerals do for your eyes?

  • Vitamin A protects the cornea and aids your eyes’ ability to see in low lighting
  • Vitamin C reduces the risk of macular degeneration, whichis one of the leading causes of adult blindness.
  • Lutenin and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that can reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They also filter out harmful high-energy wavelengths of light from your eyes.
  • Zinc is highly concentrated in the eye, particularly in the retina, and it plays an essential role in delivering vitamin A to the retina to produce melanin.

In summary, eating pumpkin can provide your eyes with a diverse array of benefits.

Now before you run off to get yourself a pumpkin spice latte or help yourself to an extra-large piece of pumpkin pie, it is important to note that not all pumpkin foods are created equal. A lot of fall favorites – pumpkin pies, cakes, and breads – are full of sugar and do not necessarily contain that much pumpkin. Some pumpkin spice lattes do not have pumpkin in them at all. The ones that do typically only contain trace amounts. Most of the pumpkin spice flavor comes from the cinnamon and nutmeg, not from the pumpkin. These fall treats are tasty and spread fall cheer, but they should be consumed in moderation.

Luckily there are plenty of healthy ways to satisfy your pumpkin palate. Baked pumpkin seeds make a great snack and can be an excellent substitute for popcorn or potato chips. Instead of reaching for a pumpkin muffin for breakfast or dessert, consider making a pumpkin smoothie. If you want something to warm you up on a cold autumn night, pumpkin soup or roasted pumpkin can serve as either a main course or side dish.

We hope you enjoy the fall season and try a new pumpkin dish or two in the process. See below for a couple of recipe suggestions.

Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups of milk
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • Place the pumpkin puree and banana in freezer bags; store in freezer for at least 24 hours.
  • Heat the bag of pumpkin puree in the microwave on HIGH to soften, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Pour the milk into a blender. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, banana, and pumpkin; blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Soup

  • 4 cups of pumpkin puree
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
  • Puree the soup in small batches (1 cup at a time) using a food processor or blender.
  • Return to pan, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. Add black pepper to taste.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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