Beyond Thanksgiving dessert and carving jack-o’-lanterns, this autumn gourd has a host of health benefits. Here are five ways pumpkins can improve your diet, sleep and skin, plus five easy and nutritious pumpkin recipes.
1. Healthy eyes
Pumpkin is a rich source of beta-carotene—it’s what gives it that rich, vibrant colour. Packed with potent antioxidants, it helps protect your vision from degeneration. Bonus: You’ll also see stronger nails and healthier hair.
2. Glowing skin
Pumpkins are rich in a host of skin-healthy vitamins: the properties from antioxidant-rich vitamin A (retinol) act as a shield for your skin, protecting you from the damaging affects of free radicals; vitamin C helps promote collagen production and renew the skin for a glowing face; and vitamin E improves skin tone.
3. Energy boost
The daily recommended iron intake for women is higher than for men, and as women age or become pregnant, the necessary dose increases. Pumpkins are full of iron, an immunity-boosting mineral that can help ward of illness and fatigue and keep your energy high.
4. Better diet
High in fibre (7 grams per one cup of canned pumpkin) and low in calories (26 calories for 100g), pumpkins can help you stay full longer and keep your digestion on track. The Heart & Stroke association recommends 21 to 38 grams of fibre a day, however most people don’t quite reach half that amount.
5. Improved sleep and mood
Don’t toss the seeds. Raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) are rich in tryptophan (yes, the same snooze-inducing amino acid that kicks in post-turkey dinner) and can help you get more Zs. This compound also supports serotonin, which not only helps you sleep better, but boosts your mood, too.
Whether you use the whole pumpkin, the pulp or the seeds, here are five must-try recipes, ranging from savoury to sweet.
Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup
This silky soup is a mix of traditional sweet and sour Thai flavours and has only 159 calories per serving. It’s guaranteed to be your go-to winter warm-up soup.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
A muffin is a great grab-and-go treat. Skip the maple cream cheese spread to keep the calorie count (250 calories) low.
Arugula and Pepita Pesto
Add this pesto to salad, soups or over meat. Keeps in the freezer for up to six months.
Almond Pepita Butter
This fragrant nut butter with a mix of almond and pepita is a super-satisfying topper.
Pumpkin Pie Granola
A mix of pepitas, pecans, flaxseeds, puffed rice cereal and a medley of aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, ginger and cloves gives this granola loads of flavour.
Illustration by Matthew Billington Credits: Illustration by Matthew Billington
|This content is vetted by medical experts |
|This story was originally part of "Stand and Deliver" in the September 2015 issue. |
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It's time to rethink your beauty biases toward oils. Oil is no longer a dirty word in the language of beauty, these hydrating elixers are the key to supple skin, soft hair and a glowing complexion. We've rounded up our must-have oil cleansers, anti-agers and de-frizzers—and how to use them.
This product is full of 8 essential oils that help to protect the skin's moisture barrier. It's light, non-greasy and incredibly nourishing.
This two-in-one dry oil and toner combines the nutritive properties of four precious oils with the benefits of a fresh tonic water within a fifty/fifty bi-phase formulation. It helps target dryness while helping to give skin firmness.
The packaging calls it a balm, but this product is full of coconut, grapeseed, sweet almond and coffee arabica seed oils to help target stretch marks, cellulite, psoriasis and eczema.
This luxury organic skin care line is made in Vermont and knows a thing or two about oil. One of its newest launches is a oil cleanser which has quickly become a favourite among staffers at Canadian Living. The Biocompatible oils and esters dissolve makeup and cleanse skin while leaving the skin's barrier in perfect harmony. Great for anyone with dehydrated skin or if you live in a climate that experiences extreme cold—aka Canada.
The great thing about body oils? They also work aromatherapy wonders. This blend is a combination of sesame, safflower and rice bran oils as well as grapefruit, chamomile and vanilla essential oils for an uplifting treat for mind and body.
This oil is a favourite among some of the most stunning women in Hollywood, but it works wonders on everything and claims to work with all skin types. This luxury facial oil consists of 11 different kinds of oils. Some of which are arnica, it helps with healing the skin, perfect for any rough patches or acne. Primerose helps with hydration and redness and jasmine and neroli oil can help you relax.
A great skin soother, this oil also works to reduce the appearance of cellulite using algae extract (a powerful antioxidant).
There are a lot of serums and hair oils on the market, but one of our favourite ones is Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil. The formula uses argan, coconut, macadamia-nut, sweet-almond and grape-see oil to help enhance shine, smooth away flyways and stop frizz in its tracks.
Another multi-tasker, this dry oil (for hair, face and body) includes a blend of grapeseed, sesame, and argan oils leaving your skin super soft and hydrated.
This oil based balm is packed with 12 essential oils to help reduce imperfection and rebalance skin's barrier. Sitting just under $100 bucks a pop it's pricey, but worth the splurge. The texture and smell is super indulgent and makes the mundane task of cleansing your face so much more enjoyable.
This multi-purpose oil works for both hair and body, and is formualted with organic Community Trade argan oil frm Morocco.
This organic body oil helps to improve skin and visibly improve it's texture after one month of regular (a few times a week) use. The star ingredients are organic birch leaves, organic rosemary, rusks, apricot kernel oil and jojoba oil.
A cult favourite, this oil (with a non-oily texture) is lightweight and full of vitamin E.
Water and oil seem to get along pretty well in this formula. The hydrating formula improves skin elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while a cold-pressed blend of seed oils allows for maximum potency of actives for optimal results.
This limited edition oil features the fragrance of the brand's Amazing Grace Eau de Toilette. Apply to skin fresh out of the shower, or put a couple drops in your bath for a subtle, clean scent.
After spending the day soaking up UV rays your skin becomes dry because its barrier breaks down, preventing it from retaining lipids and moisture. Sooth sun exposed skin with a light oil, like this one from Vichy. Its comprised of sheer oil; apricot kernel oil, coriander and blackcurant seeds, plus its jam packed with fatty acids that help nourish and build up your barrier. If you don't like anything heavy on your skin apply in the shower then rinse off, but if you're craving something weightier apply on dry or post shower skin.
Formulated for skin post-wax, this product contains coconut oil, arnica oil, aloe vera and calendula oil that works to soothe skin and heal irritations.
This incredibly moisturizing oil is perfect for summer when quick-dry and sunkissed are your main priorities.
This multi-purpose—skin, hair, lips, nails—hydrating oil is 100 percent again oil and is super lightweight. Although it does absorb quickly, a little goes a long way.
If it ain't broke... If coconut oil is your go-to, we won't tell you to pick up something more complicated. Make sure to buy organic if you're putting this straight on your skin.
Over 50 and fabulous? Our guide to aging gracefully helps you choose the skincare, hair and makeup products that are right for you.
©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com
Learn how feng shui techniques can declutter your home and create positive space in your life.
Do you want to bring happiness, good fortune and wellness into your life this year? Turn to the positive energies of feng shui as your guide. The ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment can help spruce up your home and simultaneously create balance and joy.
Bridget Saraka, the Saskatoon-based owner of Feng Shui by Bridget, says the practice offers life-changing benefits. "Feng shui is about creating a space that's not only pleasing to your eye, but also pleasing to all your senses, so that your home supports and enriches your life," she says. "How we live has a profound impact on what our experiences will be. When you apply feng shui principles to your home, you can attract a great new year."
If your home is cluttered, dimly lit and has poorly arranged furniture, feng shui principles state that your life will be filled with obstacles and present few opportunities for growth. As a result, your job, relationships, finances and health can become stagnant. By making a few small changes, you can revitalize your space and your life. Here are six simple tips to get started:
1. Make your front door visible to receive blessings
In feng shui, a hard-to-read house number or a blocked walkway to a door will prevent positive energy from entering the home. "Have an address that's easy to see from the street and a path from your front door into your home that isn't cluttered with obstacles," says Saraka. "If the universe can't find you, how can fortunate blessings find you?"
2. Add colour for good health
Taupes and other neutral colours are popular in home decor, but they might contribute to low moods and energy levels during Canada's long, dark winters. "They're the wrong colour palate for Canadians because many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder," says Saraka. From a feng shui perspective, these colours absorb the winter light, leaving Canadians feeling depressed and directionless.
To boost health and energy, start by painting your walls. "Choose a colour that's warm yet still reflects light – soft yellows, soft greens – colours that give a feeling of the sun and nature," says Saraka. "Green makes all colours pop, plus it's about life, vitality, growth and new vibrations." If you can't afford to paint, use colourful accessories—accent pillows, throws, live flowers, lighting in dark corners—to ignite powerful energy shifts in your home. "It's the easiest and most affordable way to do it," says Saraka.
3. Edit your belongings
Clear the bad vibes that accompany clutter. "Go through your home with a keen eye to what no longer serves you. If you haven't worn or used it within a year, donate it," says Saraka. "If it's broken and you're not going to repair it, remove it from the space. This editing practice opens up your home so you have room to experience a new chapter." Items that hold upsetting memories should be removed, too.
4. Let indoor plants and water bring prosperity
¨Want to attract wealth this year? Bring plants and a water fountain into your home. "Jade plants and fountains are symbols that represent wealth and finance in feng shui," says Saraka. Your health may also benefit from plants and flowers inside the home. "They purify the air," says Saraka, "And as you nurture the plant, you're nurturing yourself."
5. Position furniture for safety
If you don't feel safe and comfortable in your home, your furniture placement might be to blame. "Feng shui is first and foremost about comfort and safety," says Saraka. "Make sure that the largest piece of furniture in any room is in a position where you can see the door. If the sofa or head of the bed is against the same wall as the door, you can't see who is coming in. This creates a sense of vulnerability."
6. Use essential oils to attain happiness
Essential oils can help clear negative energy and add happy vibes to your home. "Put distilled water in a spritzer bottle, add three to six droplets of oil, and then spritz the air," says Saraka. If someone has been ill, Saraka recommends a blend of frankincense and cinnamon. ¨"To infuse a space with joy, use rose and orange essential oils. Rose is about love. Orange is about joy. So you're infusing joyful love into your space." Essential oils can be purchased from most health-food stores.
For more feng shui tips, check out how you can declutter your car.