From the Cucurbitaceae family, pumpkins are in full season and greatly contribute to strengthening our immunity during the month of October, but not only! Pumpkin, potimarron, squash, all these varieties of pumpkins benefit from certain carotenoids, natural plant pigments that are beneficial to us.
4 health benefits :
Rich in beta-carotene. Better known as provitamin A, this natural pigment gives pumpkins their pretty orange colour. It is a powerful antioxidant that fights against cellular free radicals and slows down skin ageing.
Pumpkins contain many minerals that are needed to strengthen and boost immunity, handy for these colder and shorter days. Calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and provitamin A contribute to this effect.
The soluble fibres contained in the flesh of the squash allow it to be a precious friend for transit, especially in case of constipation and bloating. In addition, this type of fibre decreases the absorption of fats (bad cholesterol and triglycerides), slows the absorption of carbohydrates and slows down the rise in blood sugar essential in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. They are gentle on the intestine, and therefore reduce digestive discomfort while promoting the balance of the intestinal flora.
In addition to being a good source of protein, pumpkin seeds contain vitamin E, a valuable antioxidant, and linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid to be provided through food. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect, allow slight hormonal regulation and are valuable allies for the prevention of prostate disorders.
In the kitchen: Great for soups, broths, gratin, and mashed potato puree. Cook it in the pan, in boiling water, or in the oven. You can use it for savoury dishes but also in sweet preparations. You can add it to your smoothies or drink it in your kombucha.
Red or yellow, cooked or raw, beets have many health benefits, here are four:
According to certain studies (ref.), it would participate in the prevention of many cancers (skin, liver and lungs), due to its richness in betalines, a very powerful antioxidant that gives beet its red colour, mainly located in the root.
It is excellent for the maintenance of eye health thanks to certain specific antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin), thus preventing age-related eye diseases, including macular degeneration and cataracts.
Beet juice could improve sports performance, thanks to its nitrate intake which widens blood vessels, promoting the circulation of oxygen and nutrients.
It is a good source of vitamin B9, essential at the very beginning of pregnancy to avoid certain fetal malformations.
In the kitchen: Raw or cooked; grated into salads, hummus, risotto, sauces, juices and smoothies.
A cousin of the carrot, the parsnip is known for its diuretic and febrifuge properties (fights fever). It is a root vegetable with a sweet and comforting flavour, just what we are looking for during these months of autumn. It participates in the maintenance of good health. Here are its main benefits:
Rich in water and carbohydrates in the form of insoluble fibre: helps to prevent constipation problems by promoting regular bowel function. They also contribute to the control of appetite and weight, because they increase the effect of satiety.
With an average content of 500 mg of potassium per 100g, parsnips largely cover the daily requirements of this mineral. This is essential for the prevention of high blood pressure, the first risk factor for cardiovascular disease and in particular stroke.
Parsnips are a good source of magnesium, which is involved in over 300 biological reactions in the body, such as energy production, DNA and protein synthesis.
Like beets, parsnips are an excellent source of vitamin B9, essential for pregnant women.
In the kitchen: Raw or cooked; grated like carrots for salads, in kimchi, sauces, chips, in soups, in the pan or oven with a bit of maple syrup.
This small fruit with a very sweet taste is highly nutritious. Here are some of their benefits:
It helps the elimination function of the body, in particular by promoting renal functions due to its high water content but also with a high sodium/potassium ratio. In addition, it contains several fibres (soluble and insoluble) that facilitate the proper functioning of the intestines.
Its high potassium content balances the pH of the blood and stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach, promoting digestion.
Its "laxative" effect is well known since it contains diphenylisatin, a substance capable of stimulating intestinal functions.
Plum has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and memory benefits, thanks to its phenolic compounds; natural antioxidants that have the ability to scavenge free radicals and also act as a metal chelator. These small antioxidant bombs are also known to exert prebiotic-type effects on the intestinal microbiota.
This wild plant is recognizable by its oval, short and fleshy leaves emerging from its very firm red stems. It is the October plant to add raw to your salads because it is a nutritional bomb:
Purslane is very well known for its contribution to good vegetable fats, in particular its content in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. It is an essential fatty acid that has many benefits for cardiovascular health and the nervous system, it also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
In addition to being a succulent, it is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, calcium and even glutathione, the main cellular detoxifier.
In the kitchen: raw in salads, cooked in a soup, to add at the end of cooking in any dish or fried with tomatoes and garlic.
Article written by certified nutritionist Aurelia Corbaz