SPOKANE, Wash. — Thanksgiving is a few days away and that means it is still pumpkin season.

Fans of pumpkin may already know that the gourd is packed with good stuff. And for people who are not pumpkin fans, there are a few reasons to consider eating more of the orange squash.

It turns out their orange color may make them more than just a great holiday centerpiece. It makes them one of the most nutrient dense foods out there.

The reason for the pigment are alpha -and -beta Carotene. They are both potent anti-oxidants that the body converts to vitamin A when eaten. According to the Journal of Nutrition, vitamin A is an important and essential vitamin.

Vitamin A has been shown to:

  • Boost the immune system
  • Reduce the risks associated with heart disease
  • Promote healthy eyes and vision including decreasing the chance of developing cataracts.
  • Slow down the aging process and growing tumors

Pumpkins are also rich in Vitamins B, C, E, Potassium and magnesium.

According to the United States Department Of Agriculture National Nutrient Data base, one cup of cooked pumpkin has almost two grams of protein and three grams of fiber. This high nutrient fruit is almost 95 percent water that only sacrifices 50 calories.

Adding just a small amount of pumpkin to a diet could help to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and weight.

Pumpkin seeds have a good dose of muscle building and mood elevating amino acids, zinc and protective compounds called phytosterols which may play a role in men's health.

Fresh pumpkin delivers the most health benefits but canned pumpkin is a close second.

It has more calories but it has double the fiber.

Pumpkin is a type of squash, however it's technically a fruit , most people consider it a vegetable.

It adds a vitamin boost to oatmeal/ hot cereal, yogurt, smoothies, pancakes, hummus, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes.

This homemade pumpkin latte recipe is low in calories and sugar and affordable!

Ingredients :

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon vanilla ( don’t skimp! It makes a difference)

sweetener of choice (maple syrup, raw and brown sugar are tasty options)

8 to 12 ounces of coffee (or 1-2 shots of espresso)

sprinkle of cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

1- Mix almond milk and pumpkin together in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat on the stove top or microwave for 30-45 seconds.

2- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, spices, and sweetener. You can also use a blender to froth the milk — just process/mix for about 30 seconds or until foamy... Inside tip- Don't forget the vanilla. From personal experience, it makes a difference!

3. Pour coffee and milk into your favorite cozy mug, sprinkle a little cinnamon and pumpkin spice on top. Enjoy!