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7 Ways to Make your Pumpkin Spice Treats Healthier

7  Ways to Make your Pumpkin Spice Treats Healthier

Buried beneath the overindulgence of your fave PSL, the benefits of pumpkin are just waiting to surprise you.

Pumpkin is really good for you, but traditional pumpkin spice seasoning is anything but. At least the one that you find in most stores and supermarkets.

Don't even get us started on those sugary lattes. While it's nice to indulge every once in a while, we have some guilt-free tips for enjoying your favorite pumpkin treats and get the benefits of pumpkin (and pumpkin spice) in a healthy and delicious way.

Pumpkin is a highly nutritious fruit, full of Vitamin A, antioxidants and more.

Learn how to make your pumpkin spice treats healthier with a homemade version of pumpkin spice, plus other tips to keep the flavor and add nutrients.

The Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkins are usually considered vegetables, but they’re actually fruits because they have seeds. They're part of the squash family and very nutrient-dense. They do more than decorating the lawn on Halloween; according to the USDA a cup of cooked pumpkin has only 49 calories (when boiled) and:

  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g
  • Sugar: 2.5 g  
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Fiber: 2.7 g
  • Vitamin A: 12231 IU or 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.2 mg  or 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6 0.1 mg or 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C:  11.5 mg or 19% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 2.0 mg or 10% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper: 11% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 11% of the RDI
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI

Despite being sweet in flavor, the sugar content is low and the carbs are only 4% of the RDI. Meanwhile, it’s got 11% the Recommended Daily Intake value for fiber and 245% Vitamin A. 

Top Health Benefits of Pumpkin

#1 Powerful Antioxidant: 

Good for skin and overall health, the high Vitamin C and Vitamin A content per cup, makes slow aging one of the most beloved benefits of pumpkin.

 

#2 Could Boost Immunity: 

The same Vitamin A and C help create, nourish, and multiple white blood cells that neutralize infections. If you want to strengthen immune system responses, give pumpkin a try!

 

#3 Might Help Regulate Blood Pressure: 

Research indicates that potassium may be as important as lowering salt intake to prevent heart conditions, pumpkin has plenty at 16% per cup. Additionally, fiber, Vitamin C, and the antioxidant power that keeps LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing contribute to healthy blood pressure levels.

 

#4 May Make Your Skin Glow:

A mix of antioxidants and beta-carotene keep your skin radiating a healthy glow.  Antioxidants regenerate skin and protect cells from decay, while beta-carotenes help you process Vitamin A and prevent sun damage. Furthermore, Vitamin C helps your body create collagen. If you’re curious, follow up learning about what is collagen and how it helps you Glow

 

#5 Could Support Your Weight Loss (and leave you satisfied):

One of our favorite benefits of pumpkin is that they’re over 90% water, meaning and only 49 calories per cooked cup. This means you can eat more of it than potatoes or rice, yet still stay in a caloric deficit. 

 

#6 Might Lower Risk of Cancer

Some studies show that beta-carotene could suppress prostate cancer, lower risk of breast cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and more. In addition to the heavy antioxidant content that neutralizes the free radicals created by cancer cells.

 

The Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds 

Beyond the benefits of pumpkin fruit itself, the seeds are also very healthy. Full of healthy fats, protein (7 grams per ounce,) potassium, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin  K (18% of the RDI per Oz), iron Vitamin B2, folate, and more. 

Pumpkin seeds:

  • Are full of antioxidants
  • Helps regulate blood pressure
  • Could lower blood sugar levels
  • Support bone health
  • Support eye health
  • Are high in Vitamin E (great for the skin!)
  • More!

Among the benefits of pumpkin seed protein, you’ll find that it is Non-Allergic for those sensitive to soy, and one of the reasons it’s part of our Complete Protein. They’re full of iron, zinc, and have the power to skew the body’s pH alkaline. 

 

Is Pumpkin Spice Healthy? 

Yes, it is! But only when it is made naturally and the nutritional values of the original ingredients are preserved; it combines the benefits of pumpkin with the health benefits of each spice.

Pumpkin spice is a mix of pumpkin puree with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

You’d think with so many reasons to eat pumpkin and snack on pumpkin seeds, the benefits of pumpkin spice would be widely available. However, that is not always the case because some commercial preparations are bleached, chemically altered, or do not have all the ingredients. Most of the sweet treats, lattes, and meals boasting pumpkin spice flavor, are devoid of nutrition.

The Benefits of Pumpkin Spice

To the delicious and wholesome pumpkin puree add:

  • Cinnamon: rich in antioxidants, next to pumpkin puree this is the MVP ingredient. The benefits of cinnamon may lower blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammation, and support digestion, immunity, and cognitive health. 
  • Nutmeg: great source of fiber, Vitamin B, and minerals. Could help with oral health, relieve pain, and prevent cavities. It is a powerful natural antibacterial.
  • Ginger:  the benefits of ginger make it a great aid against indigestion, inflammation, muscle pain, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.  It is also rich in minerals like iron, potassium and zinc. One of our favorite superfoods it’s a fantastic addition to the benefits of pumpkin. 
  • Allspice: coming from a single dried fruit of the pimento tree, it may be a digestive aid, sleep aid, source of antioxidants, cardiovascular support and more. It rounds up the flavor and benefits of pumpkin spice. 
  • Cloves: are full of important micronutrients and antioxidants, could help fight bacteria, e-coli, cancer, and stomach ulcers, while also supporting bone, liver, and cardiovascular health. 

7 Ways to Make Your Pumpkin Spice Treats Healthier 

Get all those good benefits of pumpkin and pumpkin spice, without the weight-gain and sugar spikes.

#1 Read the Labels

An excellent general piece of advice is to learn to read the labels, you only want to believe what’s in the table of nutrients, and the order of the ingredients. Even fitness drinks are not as healthy as you might think; they may be loaded with multiple types of sugars, colorants, and unnecessary chemicals. You get a boost of energy, but also a mighty crash.

#2 Focus on the Nutrients

Yes the Starbucks PSL can be delicious, but it’s also a heavy mix of sugar, condensed skim milk, pumpkin puree, a mix of unnamed fruits and vegetables for color, the annatto food dye, salt, and potassium sorbate (food preservative.) That’s not the healthy combination of inflammation-fighting ingredients that give you the benefits of pumpkin spice.

Try replacing your PSL base with a more nutritious option.

#3 Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice at Home

You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry, this DIY recipe by the Food Network  gives you the benefits of pumpkin spice, without any of the heartache. Pro Tip: you can put it in a ziplock bag and carry it in your bag.

#4 Measure the Calories

Can’t read the ingredients label? Ask your server about the approximate calories of your chosen treat, if it’s a drink with more than 20 to 50 calories - skip it! It’s probably a sugar fest.

#5 Replace Your Pumpkin Spice Treat

Find an alternative to your favorite treats with a healthier base, for example:

  • Try a pumpkin spice protein bar with 1 gram or less of sugar. 
  • Make your own pumpkin spice granola
  • Put pumpkin spice in your homemade smoothies (keep the sugar low by limiting the fruit, and use coconut or almond milk to bring out the nutty flavor)
  • Add the benefits of pumpkin spice to your tea. 

#6 Watch the Sugar! 

Identify the types of sugar included in your pumpkin spice treat and focus on the concentration of the healthy ingredients. If you can see that there are two or more “ose” (dextrose, sucralose, etc.) in addition to refined sugar, sugar cane juice, or similar - skip that treat!

#7 Try Your Own Pumpkin Spice Recipes

Get creative in the kitchen and satisfy the craving with this nutritious alternatives:


Bottom Line:

Focusing on the nutrients listed, sugar content, and calorie count will keep you safe from those unhealthy traps hiding behind tasty fall treats. The health benefits of pumpkin spice may be reaped with regular consumption.

We recommend having it in a low-calorie, low-sugar beverage like tea, to allow the spices and pumpkin puree to enter the blood flow with little competition.

Organifi’s Pumpkin Spice drink is the perfect fall companion; full of antioxidants, and powerful superfoods, so you can rest and boost digestion with all the flavor and none of the guilt.

THE 1ST STEP
TOWARD BETTER HEALTH:
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