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Nutrition Notes: Pumpkins

Everyday Food, November 2010

Health Benefits
Pumpkins are packed with beta-carotene, a powerful cancer fighter that has been linked to lower risks of gastric, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers. This carotenoid may block the effects of cell-damaging free radicals. Plus, pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, a bone-building mineral that helps your body absorb more calcium and neutralizes acids that can cause bone loss.

How to Buy and Cook
Look for small sugar pumpkins, which are sweeter than other varieties. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin, then halve and scoop out the seeds. Dice the flesh and roast with herbs to serve as a side or in cheesy pasta. Toss seeds with a bit of olive oil and salt and toast in the oven for a crunchy snack. Canned pumpkin is a convenient way to get your fill of this good-for-you gourd. Buy 100 percent pure pumpkin, which doesn't contain added salt or sugar.