Fall is in the air! And as the seasons change, so does the menu at Oakleigh of Macomb. Designed with scratch cooking and fresh products in mind, we customize our menus to keep up with the freshest and best ingredients for our residents to enjoy their dining experience. With our open, restaurant-style dining, we look forward to kicking off the fall season with the most popular ingredient of all – PUMPKIN of course! Not only does Oakleigh focus on healthy eating habits, a hydration and wellness program, but we can also accommodate specialty diets, and love to try new requests for culinary creativity!

Did you know the pumpkins are more than just a fun Halloween decoration? There are many health benefits for all generations to enjoy! Here are a few tips on why you shouldn’t skip the pumpkin pie this season:

Pumpkins help to promote strong vision

Pumpkins are rich in vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene.  All of these things are known for helping to prevent degenerative damage in our eyes, strengthening vision, and helping to support the overall health of the eyes.

Pumpkins can aid weight loss

Pumpkins are loaded with fiber while being low in calories.  Eating more pumpkin may help in supporting weight loss. Fiber has been shown to slow digestion, helping you to feel fuller longer so that you don’t eat as much or as often.  One cup of canned pumpkin contains seven grams of fiber. That’s more fiber than you would get in two slices of whole-grain bread. Not to mention, a single serving of canned pumpkin has less than 50 calories, making it a great, no guilt, snack, or treat.

Pumpkins benefit senior heart health

While you may have heard of the importance of a high fiber diet in weight loss, you may not have heard that a high fiber diet is excellent for your heart as well.  The Harvard School of Public Health completed a study where they found and the association between fiber and myocardial infarction. The researchers found that dietary fiber is a vital component for preventing coronary heart disease.  So now that we know how high in fiber pumpkin is, you may just want to consider eating more to reduce your risk.

Pumpkin can help strengthen your immune system

Fall is often associated with an increase in the number of people suffering from a cold or flu.  This means that it’s important for you to develop a robust immune system. One way of helping to give your immune system a boost is to snack on some pumpkin.  Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, which is great for helping you to ward off infections, viruses and diseases.

Pumpkins may help boost your mood

Along with the other vitamins and minerals a pumpkin has is zinc.  Zinc is critical for many of the main functions in the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, zinc is necessary for a strong immune system, cell growth, and may also help to improve your mood and your mental well-being.  Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc. So even eating a handful of pumpkin seeds a day can bring an improvement in your mood and your overall mental well-being.

Pumpkins help to promote a youthful complexion

Studies have found that carotenoids and essential fatty acids are critical for healthy, young-looking complexions.  As pumpkins are rich in both carotenoids and essential fatty acids, they are a great treat for helping your skin look and feel younger, and can even help with protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and the damaging effect those rays have on your skin.

Pumpkins can help you with getting a good night’s sleep

Pumpkins have also been found to be rich in tryptophan.  Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps to relax your system and get you to sleep at night.  Tryptophan is another chemical compound to both melatonin and serotonin, which are both critical to the quality of your sleep.  So, eating pumpkin will help your body to produce and process the chemicals needed to improve your quality of rest.

Don’t Forget the Pumpkin Seeds

Not only are pumpkins themselves a healthy and tasty treat, but their seeds are edible, delicious and very healthy as well.  The pre-shelled seeds are green, flat and very easy to eat.

They are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, which also promote better health.  One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains about 151 calories, making it an excellent snack. They are packed with antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium, polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2, and folate.

Pumpkin seeds help with things like:

  • The antioxidants may help to protect you against disease, as well as helping to reduce inflammation.
  • Diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been associated with a reduced risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers.
  • Pumpkin seeds may help to relieve the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges, causing problems with urination.
  • Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium, a mineral often lacking in our regular diets.  Magnesium is used by our bodies for more than 600 different chemical reactions. Magnesium helps to control our blood pressure, reduce heart disease risk, the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and regulating blood sugar levels.

With all of the many benefits eating pumpkin can bring to our health and well-being, you can now feel confident that by eating that delicious slice of pumpkin pie, you are doing your body good.

*Please note: As with any health-related topics, we suggest you consult your doctor before making a significant change to your diet