The crisp fall weather brings colorful leaves, cozy sweaters, and, of course, all things pumpkin. You can hardly step into a store without seeing dozens of pumpkin flavored items. Pumpkin donuts, pumpkin latte, and even pumpkin cream cheese. It’s everywhere. But, is pumpkin a healthy food? Should you encourage your elderly parent to enjoy those fall pumpkin treats or stay away from them?
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a kind of squash that has many health benefits. It’s low in calories, but packs in a number of vitamins and minerals. And, you can use more than just the orange flesh. The seeds, leaves, and juice all have lots of nutritional benefits. Some of the specific health benefits of pumpkin are:
Fiber: Pumpkin contains lots of fiber, which has digestive benefits. In addition, the fiber in pumpkin may help if your parent needs to lose a little weight. That’s because fiber takes longer to digest, so it keeps the body feeling full longer.
Heart Health: In addition to fiber, pumpkin contains potassium and vitamin C. All of these nutrients help to support heart health. In fact, increasing potassium intake has been linked to lowering blood pressure.
Better Vision: The orange color in pumpkin comes from the beta-carotene in them. Inside the body, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A, which is good for eye health.
Stronger Immune System: The vitamin A and vitamin C can help strengthen the immune system so that it is better able to fight off illness.
Skin Health: Pumpkin pulp can be used to soothe and exfoliate skin. To make a pumpkin mask, mix a quarter cup of pureed pumpkin with an egg and a tablespoon each of honey and milk. Smooth it over your parent’s face and wait 20 minutes before rinsing it away with warm water. It’s a great way to treat your mom to a pampering facial at home!
A Word of Caution About Pumpkin Treats
Although pumpkin itself has a lot of health benefits, older adults should still be careful about consuming too many pumpkin treats. Many fall pumpkin-flavored favorites are made with lots of sugar and fat. So, be sure to read nutrition labels and offer treats in moderation.
One way your parent can enjoy healthier pumpkin treats is to make them at home where healthier ingredients can be substituted for unhealthy ones. Home care can help older adults to make pumpkin goodies at home. Home care providers can assist with cutting up fresh pumpkin, which might be too hard for aged hands to manage. Home care providers can also lift heavy pans, stir stiff batter, and assist with getting baked goods safely in and out of the oven.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Duncan, SC, please contact the caring staff at Upstate Home Care Solutions today. Call (864) 527-0455