It is PUMPKIN SEASON: one of the healthiest foods of Fall.

I love to educate myself about all the different benefits that the foods I eat may have for both my health and overall wellbeing. Since it is fall and I love pumpkins, I thought I would share with you 5 amazing benefits of one of the healthiest (and yummiest!!) foods of the season.

To begin with, let me emphasize on the fact that pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient. I find it is so easy to incorporate in my diet. Even though I eat pumpkin during all year, it is for sure one of my staple foods when the chillier weather comes around.

Here is my small collection of pumpkins currently sitting at my house. Can you tell how much I love them? haha I feel so lucky to be able to find a wide range of types, colors, shapes and sizes at my local grocery store! 🙂 Okay enough of faffing around, let’s hop right into the health benefits of pumpkins:

  • It is a food rich in essential antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin A that can neutralize the free radicals that our bodies may excessively create, preventing them from damaging our cells
  • It is a source of vitamin A, which promotes good eye sight and strengthens our immune system, helping to ward off ilness and fight bacterial and fungal infections (just 100g can meet 170% of our RDA). It is also a source of vitamin C that, despite being widely-known for fighting the common cold due to its crucial role in increasing our white blood cell production, it is also very important for iron absorption as well as for tissue repair and regenaration.  Lastly but not least, it also contains vitamin E, which is equally vital for a strong and well-functioning immune system. It is also very important to regulate our endocrine and nervous systems (working in a way that balances our hormones naturally) and to repair damaged skin.
  • It is an iron and zinc rich food, the two minerals that are considered most important for a welll-functioning body. Iron is required for hemoglobin formation, which is basically the protein existing in our red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout our body; being thus essential for growth, development and normal cellular functioning. Just like iron, zinc also plays an important role in our cell growth and in protecting us from free radicals. In addition, this mineral is also required for the maintenance of our special senses (i.e vision, smell and taste), healing of wounds and thyroid function.
  • It is a great source of fiber, which as you probably know is essential for our gut health, supporting normal bowel movements, helps constipation and aids disgestion. Another reason why fiber is so important is its role in regulating blood sugar, cholesterol levels as well as in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Contains folate, a B vitamin vital for creating both white and red blood cells and subsequently for preventing anemia.

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Are you also a pumpkin lover like me? Please let me know in the comment section below what is your favourite fall food! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Greateful

My easy Chickpea Coconut Curry recipe (VGN & GF)

I frequently crave hearty and comfort foods such as a good coconut curry. This coconut chickpea curry recipe always manages to satisfy my cravings and, therefore, I just though I’d share it with you guys. It is tasty, effortless to makeand nutrient-dense. Plus, believe me, you can’t really get it wrong.

 

Now off to what matters: what are the ingredients and directions of cooking it?

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 300-400 chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100gr button white mushrooms, sliced
  • 150gr carrot, cut in half and then sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped (you can also used the equivalent in canned tomatoes)
  • 2 handfuls of sugar snaps
  • 5 cobs of baby corn, cut into short lenghts
  • 3 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  • 100gr of red capsicum, sliced
  • 100gr of yellow capsicum, sliced
  • 400ml of canned coconut milk
  • 100gr of firm organic Tofu (optional)
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small handfull of fresh cilantro
  • Lemon/lime

 

Cooking directions:

  1. Heat some water in a large pan and add the onion finely sliced. Cook until softened, it should take about 10 mins. Add all spices and stir to combine them properly. Cook for 3 mins, then pour in the chopped tomatoes, using a wooden sppon to break them up, and simmer for 10 mins.
  2. Pour in the coconut milk and add some salt to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further 15 mins until the sauce becomes thick.
  3. Tip in the chickpeas, the carrot, fresh spinach leaves, yellow and red capsicum, baby corn and green beans (all previously boiled until tender-crisp), and warm through. Cook, stirring frequently, for a further 7-10 minutes.
  4. The tofu is totally optional in this recipe. When I use it, I like to cut it in small cubes and bake it in the oven with some mustard. However, in case you prefer, you can also tip the tofu cubes in when you add the chickpeas and the veggies to the pan.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed and as per your preference.
  6. Serve over some rice (white or brown) or quinoa and garnish with fresh lemon or lime juice and fresh coriander leaves.

 

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For an incredibly flavourful curry is important to have the right blend of flavours and textures. This is quite a versatile recipe but I find that using these veggies, herbs and spices, makes it very rich in flavour, wholesome and satisfying.

If you try this recipe please let me know in the comment section below. Also, do you have a different coconut curry recipe that is also vegan? As a curry lover, I am always open to need recipe ideas! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful