Pumpkin Power: 4 Health & Beauty Benefits from Fall’s Favorite Veggie

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While pumpkins are often associated with Halloween (you’re never too old to carve a jack-o’-lantern after all), this vibrant orange squash has several health and beauty benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. For starters, eating pumpkin has been linked with blood pressure regulation and overall heart health, thanks to fiber and potassium. And because it contains antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C, this vine veggie also promotes a softer complexion, and an increase in collagen production — it’s like the Mother Nature of anti-aging. If you’re into pumpkin seeds, the zinc in these bite-sized morsels can help those with acne by controlling the hormone levels and oil production while aiding the healing process after breakouts.

When applied topically, natural fruit and alpha hydroxy acids dissolve dead skin cells, thus promoting a bright, glowing complexion (Fun Fact: Since the molecular structure of pumpkin is small, it can penetrate deep into the skin!).

So, put down that carving knife and try out these food and beauty recipes that will benefit you from the inside out.

PUMPKIN CURRY HUMMUS

If you love hummus, then get ready to dip your celery stick into this unique version that packs a serious punch in both the health and flavor department.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 to whole 15 oz can pumpkin puree depending on preference
  • 1 13.5 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Toss pumpkin, chickpeas, tahini and garlic into a food processor and blend until fairly smooth. Scrape sides and blend again.

Add lemon juice, curry powder, and salt — you can add additional salt to taste later on. While the processor is running, slowly pour in a thin stream of olive oil until you’ve reached the consistency of your choice — just make sure it’s smooth.

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PUMPKIN PIE OATMEAL

Dessert for breakfast? Why not — except this healthy and hearty version won’t pack on the pounds and will keep you full until lunchtime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 3/4 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions:

  • Combine oats and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is reached, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with pecans and maple syrup, if desired.

 

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PUMPKIN & NUTMEG BRIGHTENING FACE MASK

While this concoction is good enough to eat, slather it on your face to achieve a smooth, glowing, hydrated complexion!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  • Mix together the pumpkin puree with a teaspoon of raw honey.
  • Add nutmeg powder and mix well.
  • Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and blend all the ingredients until you achieve a semi-thick consistency.
  • Apply mask to freshly cleansed skin and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse immediately if burning or extreme redness occurs.

PUMPKIN & SUGAR BODY SCRUB 

The skin on your body, hands, and feet is just as susceptible to dryness as your face once the temps start to dip, so whip up a batch of this gentle exfoliant to ensure you stay hydrated from head-to-toe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. coconut oil
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. canned pumpkin
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 ounce sealable container (like a jar)

Instructions:

  • Combine all the ingredients, mix well.
  • Fill container with scrub. Note that you can divide the mixture if you want to share the love!

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