How Nice is Pumpkin Spice?
Each year, Starbucks releases their signature Pumpkin Spice Latte earlier and earlier to appease drooling fans across the globe.
But how healthy is your pumpkin spice addiction?
A grande PSL weighs in at 380 calories and 50 grams of sugar. The beverage contains artificially-flavored syrup, condensed milk, whipped cream, and little to no actual pumpkin. Comparatively, a serving of puréed pumpkin contains 49 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, and 250% of your daily vitamin A!
Your $5 latte is okay in moderation, but try to enjoy the seasonal spice in its purest form to reap its many health benefits. Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable that provides a multitude of vitamins and minerals:
- Potassium and antioxidants help prevent and lower blood pressure. Pumpkin seed oil is especially helpful towards the prevention of high blood pressure.
- Vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron fight cancer cells and decrease your risk for prostate, breast, and colon cancers.
- Carotenoids, also found in carrots, turn into vitamin A which contributes to healthy skin and eyes. Half a cup of pumpkin contains more than 1,000 milligrams of vitamin A! Carotenoids are especially beneficial towards the prevention of cataracts.
- Vitamin C is helps build up your immune system—especially at this time of year. Start your day with pumpkin pancakes or a healthy pumpkin bread to sniff out the sniffles!
- Fiber regulates digestion, increases nutrient absorption, and lowers your risk for obesity. Pumpkin is comprised of 90% water which aids the digestion process (and is also great for your four-legged friends!). Additionally, high consumption of fiber has been proven to contribute to a lower risk of mouth, colon, and stomach cancer.
- Amino acids and magnesium can be found in pumpkin seeds which contribute to improved muscle function.
- Phytochemicals control blood sugar levels, lower risk for diabetes, and aid weight loss.
While there’s no argument that natural pumpkin is best, there are some healthier PSL alternatives at your local grocery store that provide the same spice and are twice as nice. You can also make your own! Or, channel your inner Ina Garten and whip up some warm pumpkin soup or sweet pumpkin dip for a festive dish at your next get-together.