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All Things Pumpkin - Fun Facts, Health Benefits, & Recipes to Help You get the Most out of this Fall Season
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All Things Pumpkin - Fun Facts, Health Benefits, & Recipes to Help You get the Most out of this Fall Season

The morning temperatures begin to dip. The scents wafting in the outdoor air seem to shift. And, the leaves begin their annual color display of bright reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. 

In a few short weeks, dusk will draw near in earlier hours. The leaves, now crisp and fallen, will joyfully dance along sidewalks. Street lights will soon illuminate foggy mornings and misty, cool evenings. 

Ah yes, autumn is here…also known as the season of all things pumpkin

Pumpkins, large and small, fill fields, grace porch steps, make their way into pies, cakes, muffins, soups, and coffee all throughout this most wonderful time of the year. 

But, pumpkins aren’t just a fun, happy part of fall.

Did you know that pumpkins are loaded with benefits to your health? 

Even more, experts say there’s actually a reason for why so many of us eagerly await pumpkin season, besides the wonderfully delicious treats, of course. 

Here, we’ll explore it all, with a look into all things pumpkin! 


Why do We Love Pumpkins?

When autumn arrives, even before autumn arrives for some of us, why is it that we all tend to be a little basic

What is it about pumpkins that inspires themed clothing and over-the-top decor that truly isn’t over-the-top because it’s…well…pumpkins? 

And, what makes us love pumpkins so much that we’ll seek out pumpkin flavored (or scented) everything - from appropriate offerings like lattes and pies to not so ideal items like salmon and cat litter. Yep, cat litter. 

One professor of American studies believes, along with backing from psychologists, that coupled with the nutritional rewards of pumpkins, people also benefit from how this gourd makes them feel. 

In other words, though delicious, it’s not always about the flavor (or nutrition) during this season. 

Long ago, pumpkins were used in foods (and beers) when barley or wheat couldn’t be found, making them a familiar friend to farm life. 

Since then, America became more industrialized prompting many to move from green acres to the concrete jungle.

Eventually, many felt a longing for the simpler times afforded by that green acre lifestyle, so much so that pumpkins began to appear as iconic images in paintings, a nod to the nostalgia of the rural way of life. 

And, according to the theories of many, pumpkins still evoke such feelings of nostalgia today, pulling on our heartstrings, making us long for an idealized, peaceful rural lifestyle amidst our busy, hectic schedules and lives. 

Aside from this, fall also opens the door for time spent with family and friends. 

Autumn, aka pumpkin season, is also a time to slow down and pick apples, carve pumpkins, slowly sip pumpkin spice coffee on our front porches, and pause to take in the sights and scents of the season with a bit more gratitude in our hearts for all the things and people we enjoy and love. 

Fun Pumpkin Facts

Moving on from the tugging of our heart strings, pumpkins are also just plain fun! 

And, while we could spend an entire article listing all we’ve learned about pumpkins, for time’s sake today, we’ll leave you with five of our favorite fun pumpkin facts…

1- Oh My Gourd! 

Did you know that pumpkins are actually fruits? 

Since it’s a type of squash, gourd rather, we often think of pumpkins as veggies. But, since they come from the flowers of their plant, pumpkins are indeed fruits. 

And, for a bonus fact: did you know there are actually more than 45 different varieties of pumpkins? Mind blowing, right? 

2- Seed Greed

The average pumpkin contains more than 500 seeds! And, while we’ll discuss the health benefits of the pumpkin itself momentarily, the seeds boast healthy boosts as well. 

Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats, are loaded with magnesium, zinc, and other needed nutrients. 

3- Pie In The Sky 

America’s love for pumpkin pie is no pie in the sky pondering. In fact, this dessert is preferred over pies such as sweet potato, pecan, even apple at Thanksgiving by up to 36%. 

4- Pumpkin History

The pumpkin flavors that we know and love were made possible by central and native Americans who selectively bred small and bitter pumpkin varieties to bring us the sweeter, fleshier versions we enjoy today. 

5- Wartime Survival 

During World War 2, pumpkins were grown to add to food to the rationed grocery lists Americans were forced to survive on. 

These pumpkin gardens were often referred to as Victory Gardens, as this squash contained a wealth of nutritional value to those who consumed it. 

And, speaking of nutritional value…


Pumpkin Health Benefits

1- Loaded with Antioxidants (Cancer/Disease Prevention)

Pumpkins contain a large amount of carotenoids, which are compounds that work as antioxidants. 

Antioxidants are crucial to your health as they neutralize free radicals, and this in turn protects you against multiple life threatening illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other inflammatory diseases. 

2- Rich in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is crucial for cell growth, division, and reproduction, vital for promoting healthy vision, and needed for your immune system to function properly. 

According to the USDA, one cup of cubed pumpkin contains 9,875 IUs of vitamin A, almost triple the daily needed amount for adult men and women. 

And, since most of us consume pumpkin in pureed form, the amount we consume as we enjoy this fall-time favorite is even greater (some sources show a cup of pureed pumpkin to contain 14,100 IUs of vitamin A). 

3- Low Calorie, High Fiber

Pumpkins are not only relatively low in calories, but they are high in fiber, and made up of nearly 94% water.

When consuming a low calorie diet for weight loss or management, pumpkins are a great, nutritional choice as their fiber content keeps you feeling full longer. 

And, this delicious fall treat is a better friend to weight loss than other carb-rich foods like rice or potatoes. 

4- Improves Skin Health

A good source of vitamins C and E, incorporating pumpkins into your diet can improve the health of your skin. 

Vitamin C is needed in the formation of collagen, which keeps your skin looking firm. 

And, vitamin E is needed to protect your skin against dryness and premature aging from sun damage.

5- Immune System Aid

Looking deeper into pumpkin’s ability to help your immune system, the vitamin A, C, and E content of pumpkins work in the following ways: 

  • Your body turns the beta carotene in pumpkins into vitamin A which then works to help your body fight infection. 
  • Vitamin A also strengthens the lining of your gut, where more than 70% of your immune system is housed. 
  • Vitamin C works to increase the amount of white blood cells in your body, causing your immune cells to be more effective, especially when it comes to healing wounds. 
  • And, vitamin E helps to activate immune cells tasked with fighting off infection.

6- Heart Healthy

Along with its vitamin C and fiber content (also heart healthy), pumpkins are also a good source of potassium.

Studies show those with a higher intake of potassium benefit from a reduced risk of stroke and lower blood pressure levels. 

7- Promotes Better Sleep

If you’re carving up a pumpkin to use the fleshy portions in a pie, or latte, be sure to keep the seeds for a nutritious snack that can aid in your efforts to get a good night’s sleep. 

Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which aids in the production of serotonin, a hormone needed for both good sleep and a good boost to your mood.

8- Potential Diabetes Prevention

The fiber and beta-carotene content of pumpkins can work to diminish spikes in blood sugar.

And, studies have shown the polysaccharide content of pumpkins to be beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels in mice. 

While further human studies are needed, these findings prove to be potentially promising as scientists look to rework these plant extracts into antidiabetic medication. 


Delicious Pumpkin Coffee Recipes 

And, now for the fun part! 

Since we’ve taken some time to explore all that pumpkins have to offer, helping to make autumn one of the most wonderful times of the year…now let’s reap some of those healthy benefits in the kitchen with some delicious pumpkin recipes using coffee, of course! 

Each of the following recipes uses both pumpkin and our tasty Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee, a customer favorite! 

Since you’ll probably want to try each and every pumpkin and coffee combo below, be sure to let us know which one is your new fall favorite! 


Dairy Free Pumpkin Nog

Technically this recipe serves two, but if this is too much eggnog for your liking, you can simply scale back the amount you add to your brew. 

And, the eggnog stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator, so you can also use this in a chilled cup of Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee over ice for a refreshing treat. 

Ingredients

16 ounces freshly brewed Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee

12 ounces eggnog (see non dairy recipe below)

Pumpkin pie spice, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add chilled eggnog to a small saucepan and heat just until warm. 
  2. Divide freshly brewed coffee between two mugs, add warmed eggnog (also divide between the two mugs), dust with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, and enjoy! 

Dairy Free Eggnog Recipe

4 cups unsweetened almond milk

6 egg yolks

⅔ cups raw honey

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Add almond milk, egg yolks, honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon to a blender. Blend until fully combined and smooth. Pour mixture into a medium sized saucepan, add cloves, and cook over medium heat slowly (monitor closely and be careful not to overcook the eggs). Cook for 10-15 minutes allowing the mixture to slightly thicken. It should be a bit frothy. You’ll want the mixture to get hot without simmering or boiling. Once thickened, remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Strain the mixture to remove the cloves, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For best results, chill for 6-8 hours or overnight before using.


Pumpkin Spice Latte À La Mode

This milkshake recipe is all treat, no tricks. So, if you’d like to lighten things up a bit, you can always use a non dairy ice cream selection. 

And, even though heavy cream only contains a minimal amount of lactose, you can easily swap this ingredient for a lighter choice, such as oat or almond milk (barring any food allergies). 

Either way, it’s delicious!

Ingredients

4 ounces cold brewed (or brewed and chilled) Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

3-4 scoops vanilla ice cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

¼ cup pumpkin puree

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus extra for garnish

Whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Add cold brew, heavy whipping cream, vanilla ice cream, vanilla extract, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice to a blender and blend on high until smooth. 
  2. Pour into a tall glass, top with whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy! 

    Healthy Pumpkin Spice Tiramisu

    When you’re in the mood for dessert instead of a drink, we’ve got you covered here too. If you love tiramisu, you simply must try this fall twist on the classic Italian dessert!

    Ingredients (to serve in 6 single serving glasses)

    1 cup (8 ounces) strongly brewed Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee 

    1 pound light ricotta cheese, liquid squeezed

    1 cup plain greek yogurt  

    1 cup canned pumpkin puree

    ½ cup erythritol 

    2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

    18-24 regular sized lady fingers

    ½ cup dark chocolate, chopped or grated

    Instructions

    1. Add ricotta, yogurt, pumpkin puree, erythritol, and pumpkin pie spice into a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. 
    2. Break lady fingers into halves and dip each half into the pumpkin spice coffee. Add two halves into the bottom of each of the six glasses. 
    3. Add a layer of pumpkin ricotta cream on top of the lady fingers (you can use a spoon or piping bag), followed by a sprinkle of dark chocolate. 
    4. Repeat this process with the coffee soaked lady finger halves, pumpkin ricotta cream, and dark chocolate two more times, forming a total of three layers in each glass. 
    5. Cover each glass with plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours prior to serving. 

    *May store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 


    Bourbon Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew 

    You can certainly enjoy this cocktail as is, but this recipe doubles as a delicious pumpkin cream cold brew simply with the omission of bourbon and pumpkin spice liqueur. 

    Ingredients (serves 2)

    For the pumpkin cold brew: 

    16 ounces cold brewed Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee

    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon 

    2 ½ ounces bourbon 

    1 ½ ounces pumpkin spice liqueur 

    Pumpkin cream (see ingredients and instructions below) 

    Ice 

    Pumpkin pie spice, for garnish

    For the pumpkin cream: 

    ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

    3 ounces 2% milk 

    2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

    2 teaspoons pumpkin puree

    ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Instructions

    For the pumpkin cream:

    1. Add all ingredients (for pumpkin cream) in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. 
    2. Froth pumpkin cream with a handheld frother or add to an electric frother and froth on the cold setting until a firm foam forms. 

    For the pumpkin cold brew:

    1. Fill two tall glasses ½-⅔ full of ice. 
    2. Add a small amount of ice, cold brew, vanilla, cinnamon, bourbon, and pumpkin spice liqueur to a cocktail shaker. 
    3. Shake gently until all ingredients are combined and chilled. (If making without alcohol, you can simply add the ingredients to your glass and stir to combine.)
    4. Pour cocktail over ice (divide between two glasses), then top with a desired amount of pumpkin cream. 
    5. If desired, garnish with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, and enjoy! 

      Autumn’s OG

      Of course, we couldn’t spend all this time ooing and ahhing over all things pumpkin and not leave you with a delicious and classic pumpkin spice latte recipe. 

      You can enjoy this drink hot, or simply chill your Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee, and make this tasty fall treat over ice. (If you do prefer a chilled option, simply allow the heated pumpkin mixture to chill before using.)

      Ingredients

      8 ounces freshly brewed Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee

      4 ounces milk (dairy or non dairy)

      2 tablespoons half and half

      2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

      2 teaspoons brown sugar

      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

      Whipped cream, for topping

      Pumpkin pie spice, for topping

      Instructions

      1. Brew 8 ounces Lifeboost Pumpkin Spice Coffee into your favorite mug, then set aside. 
      2. Add milk, half and half, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and vanilla to a small saucepan and warm over low-medium heat just until the brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thoroughly combined and warmed through. 
      3. Add pumpkin mixture to your mug of coffee and stir to combine. 
      4. Top with whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy! 



         

         

        References:

        https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/weird-pumpkin-spice-things

        https://www.romper.com/p/why-do-i-love-pumpkins-so-much-experts-confirm-the-nostalgic-connection-between-pumpkins-fall-18696842

        https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/11/19/165508669/why-americans-go-crazy-for-pumpkin-and-pumpkin-flavored-stuff

        https://bartonhillfarms.com/25-fascinating-pumpkin-facts/

        https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

        https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

        https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a19933373/vitamin-a-foods/

        https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-a/art-20365945#

        https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-pumpkin

        https://betteryou.com/blogs/health-hub/vitamin-e-immune-system-support#

        https://health.clevelandclinic.org/truth-about-the-great-pumpkin-its-good-for-you/

        https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-health-benefits-pumpkin

        https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279610#benefits

        https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin-nutrition-review#health-benefits

        https://www.asweetpeachef.com/eggnog-latte/#wprm-recipe-container-29974

        https://www.thechunkychef.com/pumpkin-spice-latte-milkshake/#wprm-recipe-container-11379

        https://fitdiary.net/healthy-pumpkin-tiramisu

        https://www.gastronomblog.com/pumpkin-cream-cold-brew-cocktail/

        https://ourlovelanguageisfood.com/pumpkin-cold-foam/

        https://www.recipegirl.com/how-to-make-a-pumpkin-spice-latte/

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