I probably don’t have to give you any excuses to eat #pumpkineverything at this time of year, but did you know that you’re actually doing something really good for your runner’s body? If you look beyond the lattes and the sweets, that is.
And if you’re not on the pumpkin bandwagon, maybe you should be!
And in case you don’t really care about the healthy benefits of pumpkin, and just want to get to some recipes, I created a Pumpkin Recipes for Runners board on Pinterest here.
Don’t throw out those seeds!
There seems to be endless benefits to pumpkin seeds:
- They’re rich in protein (so great for vegetarians)
- They’re rich in iron (again, great for vegetarians)
- They’re a good source of omega 3 fatty acids (again, great for vegetarians!)
- They contain over half your RDA of magnesium, which might help you feel more energetic
- They’re rich in trytophan, which can help you sleep better
All of the above means that they can help bolster your immune system, which can take a hit when you run long and/or hard.
More potassium than a banana
So why should you care? Like bananas, pumpkin may help reduce and/or eliminate muscle cramping. Potassium also helps to balance the fluid and electrolyte balance in your body.
Protect your vision
Especially your night vision. Like any orange vegetable, pumpkin is full of beta carotene, which can help protect your vision and also help your eyes adjust well in the dark. Running at o’dark thirty? Pumpkin might help.
Looking to drop a few pounds?
Isn’t it ironic that the same flavor that is behind so many holiday treats, when combined with healthy whole foods, might actually help you lose weight? It’s true.
Pumpkins are full of fiber, which can help you to feel fuller and are also relatively low in calorie. Much like potatoes, it’s all in how you prepare it.
May help you regulate
Because of its high fiber content, pumpkin might just help you be more regular. Now we all know the runners who simply can’t tolerate a lot of fiber before a run and/or race; for them it can lead to GI distress. Common wisdom says don’t eat something full of fiber before a race — and that can mean a lot of veggies.
Runner, know yourself. I still need my greens, even before a race. I just don’t feel right if I’m not getting in my veggies.
But if your problem is on the other end of the spectrum? Let’s just say that pumpkin might just help you go a little more often.
So let me know in the comments:
Have you fallen prey to the pumpkin craze?
Any healthy ways you enjoy pumpkin?
Have you ever actually roasted your own pumpkins? (I used to make bread pudding in pumpkins many years ago — delish!)