We all know that canned pumpkin is a must-have product to keep on hand for fall baking, but it may surprise you to learn that this fall staple actually makes its way into my grocery cart every single week — all year long. And not because I'm obsessed with the pumpkin pie spice trend, I promise!
Believe it or not, I use pumpkin as a staple ingredient in my favorite daily smoothie! For me, pure canned pumpkin (preferably organic, but if not, that's okay) is a smoothie essential that boosts flavor and that whole nutrition factor. I use canned pumpkin to thicken a drink the way other smoothie-lovers might use bananas or avocados. Keep reading to find out why.
I realize some people might think I don't want all my smoothies to taste like pumpkin! And I get that. But your smoothies won't all taste like pumpkin! Just a little bit of canned pumpkin makes a smoothie super creamy and silky. Plus, you can mix up your ingredients to help the smoothie taste like anything you want.
5 Nutritional Perks of Adding Pumpkin to Your Blender
Pumpkin is packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant which gives it that beautiful orange glow. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in our bodies, an essential nutrient we need for a healthy immune system, beautiful and clear skin, and healthy eyes. Pumpkin and winter squash are two of the top sources in the produce world — along with carrots, cantaloupe, and mango. (Leafy greens are also a good source, although their green chlorophyll hides this natural yellowish orange color found in beta-carotene-rich foods.)
2. Soluble Fiber
Pumpkin contains four grams of fiber in just 1/2 cup! That's equal to broccoli, more than spinach or kale, and more than a serving of oatmeal. Fiber helps support your heart health and ensures regular digestion. Oh, and the fiber in pumpkin is mostly soluble fiber, which is gentle on the system and can help soothe tummy troubles, too.
Pumpkin purée contains 10 percent of your daily iron needs per 1/2 cup. That's incredible for a vegetable and more than animal products like dairy and eggs contain! Bonus: The seeds contain even more iron. Consider adding 1/4 or 1/2 cup of purée or sprinkle some pumpkin seeds into or on top of your smoothie.
Pumpkin is also a good source of potassium, a mineral we need for healthy blood pressure levels, to ensure our muscles recover properly after exercise, and moderating sodium levels in the body for a healthy heart. The recommended amount of potassium is 4,700 milligrams per day for adults, and most all of us fall short. Adding just a little bit of pumpkin to your smoothie recipe each day is a great way to get more!
5. Vitamin C
While not extremely high in vitamin C, pumpkin is still a good source with 1/2 cup coming in at 8 percent of your daily needs.
The Best Brands of Canned Pumpkin
After trying nearly every brand (generic and not) I could get my hands on, here are my favorite brands of canned pumpkin.
- Libby's Classic Canned Pumpkin, $3.50 for 29 ounces
- Great Value Organic Canned Pumpkin, $2 for 15 ounces at Walmart
- Farmer's Market Canned Organic Pumpkin, $37 for 12, 15-ounce cans
- Target's Simply Balanced Organic Canned Pumpkin, $3 for 15 ounces at Target
- 365 Everyday Value Canned Pumpkin, $1.50 for 15 ounces
Why I Love These Brands
All of these options have that classic, bright-orange color and a wonderfully smooth and silky texture. Plus, they're high-quality pumpkin products that are affordable whether I buy them in a store or order them online. Not all canned pumpkin is equal!
Do you ever add canned pumpkin to your smoothies?