There are few foods that feel more like autumn than the pumpkin. Not only is it excellent to use as the main ingredient in cooking, but it can be “snuck into” many recipes such as brownies or desserts as a moistening agent and a substitute for less-healthy ingredients. Plus, who can ignore the popularity of pumpkin-flavored items like coffee, donuts and other treats that are common on store shelves this time of year?
However, what you may not realize is that real pumpkin is actually full of nutrients. Pumpkins have high fiber content and are full of potassium. This means that the pumpkin can be beneficial in losing weight and may even help you lower your blood pressure. However, you’ll find that one of the biggest proponents of pumpkins is your optometrist, and that is because pumpkin is a great source of nutrition for your eye health.
Pumpkins benefit vision health in many ways. Consider the following:
- Vitamin-rich Superfood – Pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A protects the cornea and vitamin C helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration which are serious conditions that can lead to adult-onset blindness.
- Pumpkins and Zinc – Zinc is a vital mineral that improves the health of your retina, among other things.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin – Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that work with your eyes to filter out the high-energy wavelengths and prevent eye disease. Think of these antioxidants as a sunscreen for your eyes.
All Pumpkin is Not Created Equal
Just because pumpkin is healthy doesn’t mean two venti pumpkin spice lattes a day are in order. Most pumpkin-filled snacks should be looked at as a dessert or a treat because of the high sugar content. Plus, some products aren’t made with real pumpkin, only artificial flavorings. Instead, consider these healthier ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet to reap the benefits.
- Baked Pumpkin Seeds – These are filled with all the vitamins and minerals mentioned above but are also low in calories and quite tasty.
- Pumpkin Soup – Using real pumpkin in a soup recipe can give you a warm, healthy meal that is sure to satisfy in cold weather.
- Roasted Pumpkin – This makes a great side dish in fall or anytime you have access to fresh pumpkin. Consider using it anytime you would any other squash.
- Smoothies Made from Pumpkin – A smoothie is a great way to start the day off right, or you can enjoy one instead of dessert.Love Pumpkin? Your Eyes Do Too
If you have questions about how pumpkin can benefit your eyes, or you would like to talk to an expert about any aspect of your eye health, reach out to Florida Eye Specialists. We can schedule you an appointment at any of our eight convenient locations around Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, and Palatka. Your sight is always our focus.