Autumn Bounty: Pumpkins

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Pumpkins are a a symbol of fall, starting in October through Thanksgiving. Their bright orange coloring livens up the browning autumn ; they sit on porches during the end of October and go into pies and breads throughout the winter months. Their orange color also denotes that they are an excellent source the antioxidant beta-carotene, which offers protection against certain cancers and beta-cryptoxanthin, which may decrease the risk of lung cancer in smokers. It’s also a good source of B-complex vitamins — folates, niacin, vitamin B-6, thiamin and pantothenic acid — and a rich source of the minerals copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
 
That’s just the beginning of the great health benefits reaped from including pumpkin in your diet!
 
Weight Loss Support. Pumpkin contains three grams of fiber in a one-cup serving with the low overhead of 49 calories, keeping you fuller longer while keeping caloric intake down. A fiber-rich diet helps you eat less, and lose weight.
 
Aid Vision. That same one-cup serving of pumpkin contains 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light. Extra protection for eyesight comes from the carotenoids in pumpkins, which are converted into a form of vitamin A.
 
Energy Booster. Pumpkins is higher in potassium than bananas! Potassium takes on an important role in nerve signal transmission and muscle contraction, both of which are required for physical activity. Both a mineral and electrolyte, potassium promotes healthy body growth while supporting normal heart, digestive and muscular system function.
 
Healthy Immune System. Pumpkins are a solid source of vitamin C. The beta-carotene that your body converts into vitamin A also helps create white blood cells to fight infection. Studies have suggested that vitamin A may even enhance your body’s response to the flu vaccine.
 
Don’t throw out the seeds! They come with great bonuses of their own. They are high in calories, about 559 in 4/10ths of a cup, but they pack a lot of goodness in those calories.
 
• Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and contribut to prostate health for men.
 
• Pumpkin seeds will lift your spirits! The seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is important in production of serotonin. They’ll boost you mood, can fight depression and even help you sleep!
 
• Pumpkin seeds are a the simple way to consume more magnesium. Researchers in France found that men with the highest levels of magnesium in their blood have a 40 percent lower risk of early death than those with the lowest levels, and most men can use more! Average daily consumption by men of magnesium is 353 mg daily — 420 mg is the minimum recommended by the USDA.
 
• Pumpkin seeds are a high in zinc, making them great for your skin. Zinc protects your cell membranes, helps maintain collagen, and promotes skin renewal. Zinc is also important in the prevention of osteoporosis.
 
Finally, the latest and greatest pumpkin news may be that the alpha-carotene in pumpkin along with other nutrients actually slows the signs of aging and has been shown to protect against various cancers and cataracts!
 
Pumpkins … a lot more than decoration!
 
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Water

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Your recommended daily intake of water is _______ ounces (one half of your ideal body weight).
 
Water is the forgotten nutrient. It is crucial to every function in the body; temperature regulation, circulation, metabolism, immune system and waste elimination.
 
Don’t drink water 15 minutes prior to eating. Give your stomach up to one hour after eating to digest your foods undiluted by water. Mealtime is not the time to take in large amounts of liquid. Skim milk is the only beverage that serves as an exception, as it becomes a semi-solid in the stomach.
 
Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body is not getting enough water, it perceives a threat to its survival and tries to hold on the every drop. The best way to overcome this problem is to give the body what it needs, plenty of water. Only then will stored water be released. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fats. An overweight person needs more water than a person at their ideal/healthy weight.
 
Water helps aid the body in waste removal. During weight loss, the body has more waste to get rid of. All the metabolized fat must be shed. Adequate water intake helps to flush out the waste. The average person loses two cups of water daily through the respiratory process. An additional two cups are lost through perspiration, even when no strenuous activity is being performed. The intestines and kidneys combined lose another six cups daily. Therefore, taking into consideration that approximately four cups are provided by food metabolism and ten are lost through normal functions; a person needs to drink between six and eight cups of water daily to keep the functioning properly.
 
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