Fiona McMahon, DPT Like it or not, we are creeping closer to the official start of fall. Maybe you recognize the start of fall with bulky sweaters, putting away your white clothing, or going apple picking. One fall tradition that has gotten super hot over the past few years is the celebration of all things pumpkin: pumpkin flavored coffee, candles, chapstick, etc. Basically pumpkin flavored everything. But did you know that actual pumpkin, not just the flavoring, is good for you? In this blog we will run down some health benefits as well as sharing a couple recipes to help you get your pumpkin on! 1. Pumpkins are loaded with antioxidants â€¢ Pumpkins contain heaps of vitamin A, which is essential for protecting your eyesight. They also contain the vital nutrients, thiamin and folate â€¢ The antioxidants in pumpkin can help to fight cancer and improve the look of aging skin 2. Pumpkins are full of fiber â€¢ They can help you poop! Their high fiber content can also help you to feel fuller longer, and may help you lose weight 3. Pumpkin Seeds are good for your heart â€¢ Pumpkin seeds contain loads of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which can be protective for your heart. Pumpkin Smoothie â€¢ 1 cup of purÃ©e, (you can go for canned, but try to avoid brands with added sugar) â€¢ 1 ripe banana â€¢ 1 cup milk (soymilk, almond milk, and coconut milk all make excellent substitutes for the lactose intolerant) â€¢ 1 tablespoon sweetener, like agave or honey â€¢ ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract â€¢ 1 ¼ pumpkin pie spice â€¢ 5 ice cubes â€¢ For added thickness throw in a couple tablespoons of oatmeal Add to blender and blend until smooth. Serves 2 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds You can make these bad boys into a savory or sweet snack. Based on your preferences, it all comes down to what spices you add. This recipe is for fresh pumpkin seeds: â€¢ Preheat oven to 300F â€¢ Rinse seeds and remove residual pumpkin residue â€¢ Roast your pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes â€¢ Toss seeds with olive â€¢ Season with your favorite spices, like cinnamon sugar or curry spices â€¢ Return to oven and roast for an additional 20 minutes Let us know how you celebrate all things pumpkin in the comments!