Food & Recipes

3 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin Drinks

Plus, a healthy pumpkin spice latte recipe you can whip up at home!

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Love treating yourself to a pumpkin spice latte? Good news! They aren’t as unhealthy as you might think — especially when made with a few tweaks.

Here are ways pumpkin makes you healthier, and pumpkin recipes that will take your PSL to the next, guilt-free level.

  1. Turbocharges immunity. Just two tablespoons of pumpkin puree delivers 88 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin A, an antioxidant nutrient that stimulates the production of specialized infection-fighting white blood cells. The payoff: In an Australian study, subjects who increased their intake of vitamin A took 38 percent fewer sick days. Plus, they recovered up to 50 percent faster when they did catch a cold or the flu.
  2. Increases your energy. Pumpkin boasts rich stores of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that work synergistically to help cells convert sugar into usable fuel. According to Swedish researchers, the effect is so powerful that a daily dose of the nutrient duo can double energy levels within just seven days.
  3. Soothes aches and pains. Enjoying pumpkin regularly can reduce the risk of arthritis by 48 percent and ease overall stiffness and pain by 33 percent, report British researchers. Credit goes to a plant compound (called beta-cryptoxanthin) that lowers joint inflammation and promotes tissue healing.

3 Healthy Pumpkin Drinks You Can Make at Home

These seasonal favorites brim with plant compounds that boost energy, ease pain and speed recovery.

Ginger-Pumpkin Spritzer

  • 1⁄2 cup apple cider*
  • 2 Tbs. pumpkin puree
  • 1⁄4 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1⁄2 cup ginger ale

Mix cider, puree and spice; top with ginger ale. If desired, garnish with apple slices.

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: Cal. 115 Pro. 0g, Carb. 28g, Fiber 1g, Sug. 25g, Chol. 0mg, Sod. 23mg, Total fat: 0g, Sat. 0g, Trans. 0g.

*Bonus! The malic acid and pectin in apple cider work together to soothe GI woes.

Nutty Pumpkin Latte

  • 1⁄2 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbs. pumpkin puree
  • 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 cup hot espresso*
  • 1⁄8 tsp. cocoa powder

In mug, mix first 3 ingredients; microwave until hot. Whisk until foamy. Add espresso. Sprinkle with cocoa. If desired, sweeten to taste with honey.

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: Cal. 50 Pro. 1g, Carb. 6g, Fiber 1g, Sug. 2g, Chol. 0mg, Sod. 108mg, Total fat: 2g, Sat. 0g, Trans. 0g.

*Bonus! Chlorogenic acid in espresso speeds fat burn by 50 percent.

Pumpkin-Banana Whirl

  • 1⁄4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1⁄2 banana, peeled*
  • 1⁄2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1⁄2 tsp. shredded coconut (optional)

Puree first 5 ingredients with 1⁄4 cup ice cubes. If desired, sprinkle with shredded coconut and more cinnamon.

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: Cal. 138 Pro. 5g, Carb. 30g, Fiber 3g, Sug. 20g, Chol. 2mg, Sod. 55mg, Total fat: 1g, Sat. 0g, Trans. 0g.

*Bonus! The tryptophan in bananas can improve mood by 20 percent

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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