Fall has arrived, and that means you’re going to be seeing pumpkin in everything over the next few weeks.
While the gourd is a favorite flavor this time of year, many people forget it’s also rich in a lot of vitamins and nutrients that can benefit your skin and overall health. But, I’m not referring to any of the pumpkin spiced cereals, coffees or desserts you see in the grocery store.
Many pumpkin products or flavorings are artificial and contain none of the great benefits that real pumpkin has. Canned pumpkin can be a great alternative to a fresh one if you’re looking to save time, just make sure that the only ingredient is pumpkin.
Below I’ve listed a couple of ways in which you can get the maximize the benefits of pumpkin.
- As a mask
- In a smoothie
- As a butter substitute
- To heal skin (moisturizer +balms)
- As a snack
Get the Benefits of Pumpkin As a Mask
Different parts of the pumpkin are rich in enzymes, Vitamin A, Vitamin C or Zinc. All of these nutrients can work in different ways to benefit your skin when used in a mask. You’ll probably notice that there are a lot of different pumpkin masks available on the market, so choose wisely based on what you want to get out of them.
One of the many benefits of pumpkin is that it contains fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s). These fruit enzymes, when used in a mask, work as a natural exfoliant that increases cell turnover. The mask will gently exfoliate any dead skin cells and promote the regeneration of new ones. It will also work to brighten and smooth over the new layer of skin, leaving your face feeling smooth and radiant.
Pumpkin Pie Inspired Smoothie
In my book, you’ll find information about how to improve your skin by eating clean and focusing on the many ways in which your skin is an outer reflection of inner health. You can get many of the benefits of pumpkin as a form of skin care by incorporating it into your diet. This smoothie recipe, which you can also find within my book, is a great fall treat that will also give your body the benefits of pumpkin.
Use Pumpkin Instead of Butter
Now that it’s getting colder, it’s natural to want to cozy up and bake something warm and sweet. You can easily integrate pumpkin into your fall cooking by replacing butter or oil in different recipes with pumpkin puree. Be careful to make sure that you’re using a puree that’s only ingredient is pumpkin, as many come with added sugars and syrups. The natural oils in the puree will work as a rich and flavorful substitute for butter or oil.
To substitute butter or oil with pumpkin puree in your fall baking, simply use ¾ cups of pumpkin puree for every cup of butter or oil needed in a recipe. In my book, I also talk about sweetener alternatives that are a healthier option for your skin. Things like stevia or xylitol won’t cause glucose spikes in your blood, and they’ll taste great too!
Pumpkin is a Great Moisturizer
Pumpkin and pumpkin seed oil is full of antioxidants like Vitamin A and Vitamin C. These ingredients will soften and heal the skin. When looking at moisturizers that contain pumpkin, beware of products that are simply pumpkin scented. These products generally don’t contain much actual pumpkin (if any)
In order to get the benefits of pumpkin as a moisturizer, you’ll need to make sure what you’re using does, indeed, contain pumpkin. Here is a great recipe for a homemade pumpkin moisturizer that I think you’ll enjoy. It’s all natural and contains only three, simple ingredients.
Snack on Pumpkin Seeds
If you’ve read my book, Clean Skin From Within, you probably already know that snacking on nuts and seeds are an essential element of great skin. Nuts and seeds contain numerous vitamins and oils that we need to achieve glowing skin. Pumpkin seeds are also nutrient-dense and contain Zinc, which is an important mineral for acne-prone skin.
You can create your own pumpkin seed snack by emptying them from the pumpkin yourself. Once you’ve cleaned the seeds, put them in a glass bowl or jar and fill with filtered water. Add a sprinkle of salt to the water, cover with a cloth and let them soak for at least 8 hours. Soaking your seeds will make them easier to digest and more nutritious. Then, bake or roast them in the oven with a bit of coconut oil and salt.
You can add pumpkin seeds to things like salads as a crunchy topping or simply snack on them throughout the day. I recommend getting at least one or two servings of nuts and seeds every day in order to maximize the benefits that they have to offer.
Pumpkins are not just for Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations… They’re also a skin nourishing food. And, you can enjoy them both externally and internally.