Health benefits of pumpkins

Jack-o-lanterns, decorations and pie…pumpkins are a dominant fall vegetable from the table to the porch. The bright orange gourd also packs a healthy punch helping slim waistlines and fight off colds.

"We just think of pumpkins as something to carve in October," said Dr. Eric Snow, DC, Whole Food Therapist.

The distinctive fall orange color is not just looks, the beta-keratin, like that found in carrots, is great for eyes.

"Very good for mucus membranes good for the lungs good for skin," said Dr. Snow.

The outer skin holds a lot nutrients that could help your diet plan.

"The outside of the pumpkin is really, really full of fiber. It's a very low calorie food..helps chelate the fat and get it out of the system," explained Dr. Snow.

Look inside the pumpkin and pick out those seeds for a tasty and healthy snack that will keep you full.

"It is just full of minerals and protein. One once of pumpkin seeds will give you about 6 to 7 grams of protein," said Dr. Snow.

Inside the little pods are tons of minerals like manganese, iron, copper and zinc that can help fight off colds and improve prostate health.

"A blast of minerals that help with osteoporosis," added Dr. Snow.

When picking the perfect pumpkin, bigger is not always better.

"It's a texture thing. The bigger the pumpkin, the tougher the meat of the pumpkin. If you get the smaller varieties of pumpkin then you're going to have a little bit softer treat," said Dr. Snow.

He added the way you cook the pumpkin can effect how many nutrients you digest.

"Eat them raw or dehydrate the seeds," suggested Dr. Snow.

He said you lose some of the nutritional benefits when the seeds are toasted. When it comes to pumpkin pie this holiday season, Dr. Snow recommends a less-sugary alternative.

"You can make a real real nice pumpkin pudding, but you can control the sugar," said Dr. Snow.

He adds if you want to eat the skin, but do not like the texture, just skin the pumpkin lightly and then cook for a thin layer of pumpkin packed nutrition.

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