Healthy Benefits of Pumpkin

23 Nov

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Pumpkin is a squash plant variety that are usually round with smooth, slightly ribbed skin that is deep yellow to orange in color.  It has a thick shell and the inside contain seeds and pulp.  Pumpkins are considered a fruit because they contain seeds. They are members of the Curcubit, or gourd, family which include squash, watermelon, melons, cucumbers and pumpkins.
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The pumpkin flesh can be eaten raw, but should be cooked for your pets.  You can do this by either by roasting or boiling, such as you would with a butternut squash or other variety.  Cut the skin off the flesh and cut the pumpkin into cubes.  Remember to take all the seeds out and place to the side for later use, do not throw them away! The seeds are very nutritious too.  When boiling, place your cubed pumpkin into a pot and fill with water to cover the pumpkin.  Boil the pumpkin until fork tender.  When roasting, place cubes of pumpkin onto a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil or coconut oil over the cubes.  Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.  You can feed the cooled cooked pumpkin cubes directly to your pet, or transfer the cooked pumpkin to a food processor and blend until smooth.  If you do not have time, or aren’t a home cook, you can always purchase pureed pumpkin from your local supermarket.  Be certain to read the label and purchase pureed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which contains sugar and spices.

Pumpkins have significant health benefits, so do not discount this amazing fruit as just a fall tradition. Pumpkin flesh contains no fat and is loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, C and E, alpha and beta carotene, lutein, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. Altogether, the nutritional benefits of pumpkin mean healthier skin, healthier eyes, a healthier coat and a healthier immune system for your pet.

Pumpkin seeds have been shown to be beneficial for urinary-tract health. The oil of pumpkin seeds is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, which may be good for urinary health.  Pumpkin seeds have been used as a natural de-wormer, containing cucurbitacin, a possible anthelmintic that eliminates tape and roundworms.  When preparing pumpkin seeds,  gallery-thumbnails-9place cleaned pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet, drizzle with coconut oil or olive oil, and in a 400 degree oven, bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown in color.  You can also pulse the cooked seeds in your food processor and mix 2-3 tsps. of the  “pumpkin powder” into your pet’s food.  My dog’s will eat pumpkin seeds that I have baked in the oven directly out of my hand.  They love them!

Pumpkin is a fibrous food that can help with diarrhea and constipation.  Being fibrous it can help firm up a loose stool, and with the high moisture content can help with constipation.  Pumpkin flesh contains around 90% water, so a little cooked or purred pumpkin added to your dog or cat’s dry food can combat dehydration.  By increasing moisture and fiber into your cat’s diet, it can help reduce or eliminate “hairballs” that are sometimes eventually regurgitated.
Another added bonus to the high fiber content in pumpkin, at 3 grams of fiber per cup,   it can help your overweight pet feel fuller faster and without adding fat calories.  This is a healthier alternative tocanned green beans.
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For a fun treat, place pureed pumpkin into ice cube trays.  Freeze and pop out for a cool , healthy and tasty treat for your pet.

 

Written by:  Brenda M. Tobin-Flood, Cert. C.N.

to purchase our all natural pet treats visit www.rubysnaturals.com 

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With a background in Animal Science, Animal Nutrition, and Natural Health, I can help you to create a holistic wellness plan for your animal companions.  Does your pet have an acute or chronic disease? I use natural curative treatments such as homeopathy, herbs and essential oils.  Have any questions, or to schedule an appointment,  email brenda@rubysnaturals.com

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