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Why a Valley dietitian says you should eat a pumpkin instead of carving it

(Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

PHOENIX — Besides being good for carving, pumpkins also are a great source of vitamins and nutrients.

Olivia Baker, a clinical dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, describes pumpkins as “a very nutrient-dense food.”

“You can get a lot of different vitamins from just a little bit,” she said. “It contains a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, iron and beta carotene, which is a type of vitamin A.”

It’s also rich in fiber and low on calories. Baker said one cup of pumpkin has only 50 calories.

Pumpkins, which are considered fruits, are very versatile. They can be used as substitutes for butter and oil.

They serve as the main ingredient in many healthy recipes, including pumpkin chili and pumpkin smoothies. The pumpkin seeds can also be roasted or baked.

Baker said pumpkins are most commonly used in sugary favorites, such as pumpkin pie, but she cautioned to “eat in moderation.”

She also warned that when buying pumpkin puree to make pumpkin pie, look for 100% pure pumpkin puree without any added sugar.

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