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It's Pumpkin Season! ๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒป

Although the leaves have yet to change, the cool breezes in the air tell us fall is near! This is the time of year for cozying up with a warm blanket and soothing cup of tea, sharing the joys of the season with friends and family, and eating bountifully from the summers harvest.


But most of all - it is pumpkin season! Anyone who knows me knows I love pumpkins. But beyond the fun of carving and the joy they bring aesthetically, pumpkins are a rich source of nutrients and the oils from its seeds can be used therapeutically.

Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) are a member of the squash family, the rich orange color of which is a source of beta-carotenes, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. All three nutrients are supportive to the eyes, and mucus membranes that maintain a healthy digestive tract.


Some of you may enjoy roasting the seeds with sea salt and cinnamon, and others may add pepitas to garnish a salad. Pumpkin seeds not only provide fiber necessary to maintain healthy walls of the intestinal lining, but also nutrients such as linoleic acid, zinc, iron, and selenium. These nutrients help to support general wellness of the skin, immune system, thyroid, bladder, prostate, mucus membranes, and gently lower inflammation. The seeds also serve to support a healthy GI flora.(1,2,3)


Pumpkin in Recent Research


In 2015, the German Research Activities on Natural Urologicals (GRANU) clinical trial found that taking pumpkin seed extract daily showed a significant decrease in International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) after one year of use. This study targeted men aged 50-80 living with Benign prostatic hyperplasia (i.e. an enlarged prostate) for longer than six-months.(4)

Takeaway

Given that it is in season, tasty, and can give your body key nutrients, I invite you to play with adding pumpkin and its seeds to your meals this fall!


If you need support beyond what pumpkin can provide through the diet (i.e. urinary urgency and frequency support, etc.), discuss with your Naturopathic doctor whether encapsulated Pumpkin seed extract is right for you!

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Recipes to Warm the Soul this Season!


Pumpkin, Coconut & Cinnamon Latte

Instructions based on standard 10oz coffee mug. Prep time: Approximately 15 minutes.


Ingredients:

  • Brewed coffee

  • Organic Pumpkin Puree

  • Coconut milk (canned or perishable)

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Vanilla or almond extract

  • Agave or maple syrup (optional*)

  • 1 coffee mug & 1 mason or mixing jar

Instructions:

  1. Brew coffee and fill mug 1/3 โ€“ ยฝ full (depending on desired bitterness)

  2. Add 2/3 โ€“ 1 cup of coconut milk, 4 tbsp of pumpkin puree, ยฝ tsp of desired extract, and ยผ tsp cinnamon to mason jar - (optional - ยฝ tsp agave or maple syrup for a hint of additional sweetness)

  3. Mix vigorously until light orange in color

  4. Add mixture to coffee in mug & warm in the microwave if necessary

  5. Add pinch of cinnamon to garnish

  6. Enjoy!


Pumpkin Gnocchi with Savory Fall Pesto

(Gluten Free โ€“ Made with Rice Flour)

Prep Time: Approximately 40-45 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Recipe below contains dairy and egg. Egg substitute suggested.



Ingredients (Gnocchi):

  • 2/3 cup - Organic Pumpkin Puree

  • 2/3 cup - Ricotta

  • 1 ยผ cup - Flour

  • 1 egg (Substitute - 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed + 6 tbsp water))

  • Pinch Himalaya sea salt

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Ingredients (Savory Fall Pesto):

  • 2/3 cup โ€“ Organic Pumpkin Puree

  • ยผ cup โ€“ Avocado or Extra virgin olive oil + 2 tbsp for cooking

  • 1 medium โ€“ Garlic clove (peeled)

  • 2 tbsp โ€“ pine nuts

  • 2 tbsp โ€“ Parmesan cheese

  • ยฝ tbsp - Rosemary

  • Pinch Himalaya sea salt

  • 3-4 tbsp โ€“ Water

Gnocchi Instructions:

  1. Using a cheese cloth (or paper towel), press pureed pumpkin to void as much excess liquid as possible. Move pumpkin to a small bowl and set aside pressed pumpkin for later use.

  2. Using a cheese cloth (or paper towel), firmly press ricotta to void as much moisture as possible.

  3. Add ricotta, pumpkin, egg, salt and cinnamon to large mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.

  4. Add flour ยผ cup at a time until fully blended into the pumpkin mixture. Dough will be sticky but shouldnโ€™t be overly moist!

  5. Preparation: Put a medium pot of water on the stove top to bring to a boil

  6. Apply flour to counter top or cutting board. Gently roll dough into a large log, then slice log into 4-6 large chunks to be rolled into strips (approximately ยฝ inch around)

  7. Cut strip into 1-inch pieces (*Optional fork imprints on gnocchi) and place on parchment paper

  8. Once boiling, add gnocchi to water to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until most gnocchi are floating

  9. Preparation: prepare a medium sauce pan with 2 tbsp of avocado or olive oil on medium heat

  10. Drain cooked gnocchi in colander and add to prepared sauce pan

  11. Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip gnocchi and cook for another 2-3 minutes

  12. Once finished, take off the heat and keep in the pan until ready to plate

Pesto Instructions:

  1. In a blender or mixing bowl add pumpkin, ยผ cup of oil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, rosemary, salt and water.

  2. Blend until smooth.

  3. Plate gnocchi and drizzle pesto on top

  4. Garnish (*optional โ€“ parmesan, rosemary, and pine nuts)


Enjoy!

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References:

1.) Godfrey A, Saunders PR. Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine Press; 2010.

2.) Deters LA, Constabile RA, Leveillee RJ, Moore CR, Patel VR. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) Treatment & Management. Medscape. Updated: Feb 19, 2021. Accessed: Sept 13, 2021. Accessed from: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/437359-treatment#d13.

3.) Pumpkin: Professional Monograph. Natural Medicines Database. Updated: July 10, 2018. Current through: Feb 20, 2021. Accessed: Sept 13, 2021. Accessed from: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=810

4.) Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo-controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-295.

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