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Pumpkins offer more than autumn decoration

One+serving+of+pumpkin+puree%2C+which+equals+a+cup%2C+includes+almost+double%0Athe+necessary+daily+intake+of+vitamin+A.
One serving of pumpkin puree, which equals a cup, includes almost double
the necessary daily intake of vitamin A.

One serving of pumpkin puree, which equals a cup, includes almost double the necessary daily intake of vitamin A.

KEISHA BROKAW | Daily Evergreen File

KEISHA BROKAW | Daily Evergreen File

One serving of pumpkin puree, which equals a cup, includes almost double the necessary daily intake of vitamin A.

KAYLA SIMONSON, Evergreen reporter

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Uses:
Each fall, primarily at the end of September and throughout October, pumpkins are ready for harvest. With that comes pumpkin patches, jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice everything.

They have a dual-purpose — decoration and meal creation. After scraping out the “guts” of the pumpkin during carving, instead of throwing them out, get creative and use this nutrient-dense food to make meals, desserts and snacks. Doing this could save money in the future, reduce food waste and encourage the discovery of a favorite autumn dish.

Pumpkin seeds can be cooked and eaten, and pumpkin puree, which comes canned, and is easy to work with. There are also ways to puree it at home. The puree can be used to make pumpkin bread, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup and more. Especially during this time of year, pumpkin recipes are abundant.

Health:
One serving of pumpkin equals one cup and has 197 percent of the daily nutritional needs of vitamin A, 11 percent of potassium and 17 percent of vitamin C, according to the USDA.

Pumpkins are also high in carotenoids, antioxidants with strong cancer-fighting properties. They benefit the immune system and prevent cardiovascular disease. Pumpkin seeds also contain antioxidants.

Carotenoids are often converted into vitamin A in our bodies, which is why one serving of pumpkin counts for 197 percent of daily nutritional needs. Vitamin A regulates normal growth and development of the body, including the brain and eyes, according to Live Science.

It is important for a diet to contain carotenoids because our bodies cannot produce them. However, taking supplements may be dangerous in some circumstances, such as for smokers and people who have worked with asbestos. By consuming carotenoids through natural forms, such as pumpkin puree, the risks disappear, according to Live Science.

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