The nutritious qualities of pumpkin protect against vision problems, inflammation, depression, weight gain and much more.

Good For You: Scaring Stingy Jack

By Kathryn Kingen

Did you know that the great pumpkin owes its fame to a legendary man named Stingy Jack? According to Irish legend, going back hundreds of years, this miserable character was so crabby, nasty and disliked, that when he died he was rejected by both heaven and hell. Consequently his unwanted soul was left to roam the darkness on Hallows' Eve. oooOOOooo! Pumpkins were carved by Irish families as Jack O'Lanterns and lit to drive his wretched spirit away from their homes and into the shadows. Apparently those guardian pumpkins did a glowing job because in return the entire Halloween holiday celebrates the Jack O'Lantern face as its iconic symbol.*

Our hero the pumpkin is a great defender against a lot more than just that stingy guy Jack. It loves to intimidate all manor of bad juju. The nutritious qualities of pumpkin also protect against vision problems, inflammation, depression, weight gain and much more. The brilliant orange color of pumpkins gets the credit for this because of its carotenoids, beta-carotene, vitamin A and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Orange is always a clue for that. These nutrients are especially helpful in maintaining good eyesight, especially in the dark! One cup of pumpkin contains 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. It also contains lutein, which is recommended as an excellent eye-care supplement, but the real thing is so much better for you. Vitamin A is also great for fighting infections and boosting your immune system and is a preserver of healthy skin. No wonder pumpkins have that lovely glow! The orange antioxidants also protect against free radicals that cause cancer and aging and all kinds of other trouble. The fiber in pumpkin is great for digestion and giving you a feeling of fullness. Pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan which converts to serotonin, which is a great pick-me-upper if your dauber gets low.**

Pumpkin is one of the most well loved vegetables in the world. It has its very own holiday on Halloween. It steals the show on Thanksgiving and rounds out Christmas with the flavor of the season. This October our chefs at Salty's are dishing up a delicious Pumpkin Bavarious Torte (included in their "Aw Shucks" Amorous Bivalves Festival dishes) that will give you sanctuary from old Stingy Jack. No worries. And our Chef Jeremy has bravely scared up a to-die-for "I Wanna Pumpkin Risotto" recipe for you in his blog Your New British Pop Star, Pumpkin Spice!

*http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/jack-olantern-history
**http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/04/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html

(Author of Good for You, Kathryn Hilger Kingen is also co-owner along with husband and founder Gerald Robert Kingen for Salty's Seafood Grills restaurant group. Seattle's Eastside magazine 425 readers voted her Best Food Blogger in both 2015 and 2014. She has a degree in nutrition from the University of Washington and has been blogging about nutrition since the early days of Red Robin which husband Gerald also founded.)

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