Carly Bergenholtz provides this nutrition article which can also be found in the current issue of Level Renner, #23. We find it very fitting for the season.
Well it’s that time again…pumpkin time. As soon as the weather and the leaves turn, our favorite orange gourd takes center stage. You can’t help but notice the pumpkin flavor making its way into our food, our coffee, even our beer. In its purest form pumpkin is a wonderful and healthy addition to the runner’s diet.
Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A, which helps boost our immune system. Hard training compounded with a bad cold season might mean taking a few days off. Bulking up on a few servings of this seasonal food can help limit your time off the roads.
Apart from being rich in Vitamin A, pumpkin serves up large amounts of antioxidant vitamins C and E, which protect us from muscle fatigue and aid in recovery. One cup of pumpkin also has over 500 milligrams of potassium which stacks up well to a banana’s 400. This potassium helps protect muscles. Do you sometimes feel tired or hungry half way through your workout? Pumpkin holds electrolytes and a healthy dose of carbohydrates, which will keep you full and hydrated.
Let’s not forget the healthy treasures that you find inside the pumpkin… the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a great snack. They provide a source of healthy fats, magnesium, and can reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol.” So before we start carving this year’s jack-o-lantern, set the seeds aside and roast them for a nutritious mid-day nosh.
Warm up this fall with a bowl of my Pumpkin Chili and reap all the wonderful health benefits! [Editor’s Note: We tried this recipe in the LVL test kitchen and it gets our seal of approval.]
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 cup canned tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 1 can black beans (15 oz.)
- 1/2 can garbanzo beans
- 1/2 can red kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
1) Heat olive oil in a large a pot, cook chopped onion and minced garlic for about 5 minutes on medium heat until soft. Add spices and stir well.
2) Add pumpkin, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock (or water), and beans. Incorporate the remaining ingredients then bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Enjoy!
Carly Bergenholz is a Connecticut based health counselor. You can contact her at [email protected].
If you would like to read more of our Nov/Dec 2014 issue, click here.