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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie: A Healthy Spice Up Delight for Holiday Season !

by AdminEditor 05 Nov 2023

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie: A Healthy Spice Up  Delight for Holiday Season !

By Erica Kuo

After the colorful autumn leaves and Halloween festivities, we have entered the season of early winter. Stores are filled with peculiarly shaped and uniquely colored pumpkins, and there is a surge in popularity for pumpkin pies and pumpkin spice-flavored coffee. Pumpkins have a long shelf life, and I usually buy a few smaller-sized ones for convenience in cutting and using them to make pumpkin porridge and pumpkin cakes.

From a nutritional and health perspective, both pumpkins and the spices used in pumpkin pies have numerous benefits. Pumpkins have a sweet taste and a warming nature that can stimulate your appetite. They are known to tonify the middle, boost qi, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, detoxify, and promote diuresis. Pumpkins have advantages for people dealing with diabetes, constipation, and those seeking better skin.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration includes pumpkins in the list of 30 anti-cancer vegetables and fruits. Analyzing the nutritional composition of 100 grams of pumpkin, it contains 90.8% water, 24 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 0.9 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of carbohydrates (compared to 28 grams in the same amount of white rice), 1.4 grams of fiber, 900 I.U. of vitamin A, 0.12 grams of vitamin B1, 0.04 grams of vitamin B2, 0.04 grams of vitamin B6, 18 milligrams of vitamin C, trace amounts of vitamin E, 13 milligrams of calcium, 38 milligrams of phosphorus, 1.1 milligrams of iron, 14 milligrams of magnesium, 320 milligrams of potassium, and 1 milligram of sodium. Pumpkins also contain beta-carotene, lutein, mannitol, pectin, and more, with beta-carotene being the king among all gourds.

Pumpkins are rich in antioxidant beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which are not only good for the eyes but also powerful anti-cancer agents that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Moreover, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc. Consuming the skin and seeds along with the pumpkin can provide more zinc and help prevent prostate enlargement or the development of cancer. In my family in Taiwan, when our pumpkin harvest was abundant, my grandfather consumed pumpkins daily for months, and he passed away at nearly 90 years of age without any prostate issues. Additionally, potassium ions and antioxidants in pumpkins are beneficial for heart health.

Pumpkins have a low glycemic index (low GI) and contain rare elements that promote the secretion of insulin and enhance glucose metabolism. Pumpkin fiber helps remove excess sugar from the intestines and provides a feeling of fullness, making it especially beneficial for diabetes patients. Besides cancer prevention, beta-carotene also has protective effects on the heart and the circulatory system, as well as enhancing the health and resistance of mucous membranes and skin.

The primary spices in pumpkin pies are cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. This combination is a brain-protective and dementia-fighting formula!

Cinnamon: In early Christian churches, cinnamon oil extracted from its seeds was used for making scented candles. During the Roman Empire, an emperor even burned a year's supply of cinnamon to commemorate his beloved wife. Cinnamon can aid in digestion, alleviate indigestion, and has antiviral properties. Many toothpaste brands contain cinnamon because it can reduce gum swelling and inflammation, as well as prevent bleeding. In daily life, five-spice powder also includes cinnamon. Recent studies have found that cinnamon can stimulate the brain and balance blood sugar levels. Toothpaste with a cinnamon flavor also has a sweet taste.

A study published in the "Diabetic Medicine" journal shows that as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder daily can reduce blood sugar, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol. This is because cinnamon has bioactive properties with insulin-like functions. It can delay gastric emptying, preventing dramatic spikes in blood sugar and increasing the rate of glucose metabolism by twenty times. Therefore, those looking to control blood sugar and lose weight might consider sprinkling cinnamon powder in their coffee.

Additionally, cinnamon imparts a warm and pleasant sensation, making it suitable for use in dishes during cold or winter seasons. Chinese cuisine often includes cinnamon, and it can alleviate constipation. When included in dishes, it can reduce constipation issues. Furthermore, studies suggest that cinnamon, in combination with the two other spices used in pumpkin pie spice, can help slow down dementia and cognitive decline. When used together, ginger can protect brain cells, nutmeg can alleviate cognitive decline and aid in brain recovery following a stroke, and cinnamon can enhance memory and improve cognitive processes.

You can even adjust the spice variety to make an Indian chai tea of the same quality as professional coffee shops.

Homemade Indian Chai Tea

Ingredients: 30g freshly ground ginger, 15 crushed cardamom pods, 7 peppercorns, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 cloves, and 500ml of water. Heat them together until the water boils, then simmer on low heat for ten minutes. Add 250ml of milk, and continue simmering for another ten minutes. Afterward, strain out the residue of spices to get the milk tea. When serving, you can sprinkle a little nutmeg and add a few drops of vanilla extract, and mix with some honey to enhance the flavor. Enjoy your rich and flavorful homemade Indian chai tea!



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