Pumpkin pie may only be sold in most markets around the holidays, but canned pumpkin is sold on the shelves year round. While it might not make it onto your grocery list each week, there are a few reasons why you should consider picking it up more often.
Like other orange vegetables (think carrots) pumpkins are rich in carotenoids – compounds that give the vegetable that bright orange color. One carotenoid in particular, beta-carotene, is converted into vitamin A in the body which helps to protect the eyes as well as the skin. As an added bonus beta-carotene has been linked to cancer prevention, making its consumption even more important.
Pumpkin is also an excellent source of potassium, containing more potassium per cup than bananas. Potassium is helpful in restoring electrolytes after a tough workout, keeping cramps and muscle aches at bay while also protecting the heart and maintaining normal blood pressure.
So how can you enjoy pumpkin year round? Try incorporating it into smoothies like with this pumpkin pie smoothie! This smoothie makes the perfect post workout treat with plenty of protein as well as potassium from both pumpkin and banana to aid in the recovery process.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup almond milk
1 banana, frozen
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons maple syrup
ice, if needed
whipped cream (optional)
Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender.
Blend on high until smooth. Add more ice if needed.
Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.
If you don’t like plain Greek yogurt you can substitute vanilla Greek yogurt or a regular vanilla yogurt in its place. Just remember that flavored yogurts tend to have added sugars, which means you will not need the maple syrup sweetener.