Diabetic diets should include pumpkin. Use it fresh or canned. Make sure the canned pumpkin contains only pureed pumpkin.
Many people think of pumpkins as little more than a Halloween decoration or a Thanksgiving pie filling. However, it may be time to rethink this plump, nutritious orange plant.
Pumpkin is a highly nutrient-dense food. It is rich in vitamins and minerals but low in calories. Pumpkin seeds, leaves, and juices all pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Fast Facts on Pumpkins
• The potassium contained in pumpkins can have a positive effect on blood pressure.
• The antioxidants in pumpkin could help prevent degenerative damage to the eyes.
• Avoid canned pumpkin pie mix, as it typically contains added sugars and syrups.
• Uncut pumpkins should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months.
• Pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin can be used as a replacement for butter or oil in baking recipes.
Pumpkin’s Many Health Benefits
Pumpkins have a range of proven health benefits. Pumpkin is one of the best-known sources of an antioxidant known as beta-carotene.
• Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It also gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration.
• Many studies have suggested that eating more plant foods such as pumpkin decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality. It can also help prevent diabetes and heart disease, and promote a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and a healthful body mass index (BMI).
• Eating pumpkin is good for the heart. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health. Studies suggest that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Include Pumpkin in your Diabetic Diet
Diabetic diets benefit from eating pumpkin. Pumpkins have a powerful effect on glucose absorption. This can help keep diabetes at bay. Eating pumpkin can help to control diabetes.
The plant compounds in pumpkin seeds and pulp are excellent for helping the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines, as well as balancing levels of liver glucose.
They may be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Some researchers even suggest that they could be reworked into an anti-diabetic medication, though further studies are needed.
Diabetic Diet Recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice
This brown rice dish, cooked with puréed pumpkin and vegetable broth, yields creamy, risotto-like results. Serve it alongside your favorite main dish, or as a meal on its own.
Ingredients: (serves 8-10)
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
• 2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
• 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
• 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
• 3 bay leaves
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Toast rice, stirring often, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together pumpkin purée and broth in a large bowl.
4. Stir broth mixture and bay leaves into pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot, until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through and creamy, about 45 minutes.
6. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.
Nutrition: (per serving)
Click here for full recipe to include in your diabetic diet.