How Autumn’s Signature Food Boosts Senior Health

It’s hard to think of any other flavor that best symbolizes autumn other than pumpkin. There’s something about that spiced squash flavor that entices people both young and old to enjoy its unique taste and color. What most people don’t know is that pure pumpkin is one of the most nutritious foods, with no fat, low calories and lots of nutrients. Family caregivers that are looking for ways to boost their elderly loved one’s diet should think about all the ways that pumpkin can star in a dish.

Just one cup of pureed pumpkin provides all kinds of nutrients for elderly people. Pumpkin contains vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, riboflavin, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium folate and niacin, among others. It’s rich in fiber and contains no fat. One cup of pumpkin puree is around 80 calories and it is both affordable and plentiful. What more do family caregivers need to get inspired to add pumpkin to the elderly care meal plan?

The nutrients in pumpkin have been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer, boosting the immune system, increasing eye and skin health, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, pumpkin ranks up there with other super foods like broccoli, salmon, blueberries and avocados as the kind of food that has a high nutritional value but doesn’t have a lot of fat or calories. Seniors really need the nutrients that can be found in pumpkin, so family caregivers need to plan on plenty of pumpkin inspired meals every day.

There are thousands of recipes online for family caregivers who are interested in adding more pumpkin to their elderly care menu. Pumpkin can be added as a puree or in roasted chunks to a number of dishes. Here are just a few:

  • Soup
  • Stew
  • Chili
  • Smoothies
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta
  • Polenta
  • Refried Beans
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Gnocci
  • Hummus
  • Vegetable dip
  • Fondue
  • Grits
  • Muffins
  • Bread
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Cake
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt

Family caregivers that are planning on using canned pumpkin should take care to use pure canned
pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling has added sugar, syrup, spices and fat. To get the pure and nutritional vegetable in a can, they should check for the label, which should list the only ingredient as pumpkin. While it can be purchased all year long in cans, it often goes on sale in the fall, so caregivers can stock up if they want.

The time has come for family caregivers to think about pumpkins as more than just an autumn porch decoration. Pumpkin is a nutritious ingredient in a lot of healthy dishes and delivers a powerful dietary punch when it comes to providing the vitamins and minerals that seniors need. Now that it is fall season, there’s no excuse to put off serving a delicious pumpkin dish to an elderly loved one.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Bellevue, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.

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