Two of the best foods that top the list for post-workout nutrition? Kefir and pumpkin. Studies have shown that diets high in protein from dairy help maintain lean muscle mass, while pumpkin helps fight muscle soreness. Our pumpkin pie protein kefir smoothie is the best of both worlds in one dreamy blend.
Pumpkins originated in Central America over 7,500 years ago. After using the meaty inside to thicken stews and grind into flour, Native Americans would use the pumpkin’s hard shell to store their goods during cold winters. At the fabled Thanksgiving feast, Native Americans introduced pumpkins to the Pilgrims. Because the Pilgrims loved their flavor so much, they brought seeds back to Europe, where they quickly became popular. These orange beauties have been used for centuries as symbols of abundance, protection, and prosperity. In the 18th century, placing them on windowsills and doorsteps was very common. It was believed that carving ghoulish faces into them would help protect the home from spirits.
Pumpkin Nutritional Benefits
- Rich in fiber, which will help you feel fuller for longer! One cup of canned pumpkin contains seven grams of fiber.
- Low in calories – fewer than 30 calories per serving.
- Full of vitamin A, which is critical for healthy vision and a strong immune system. One cup of raw pumpkin delivers nearly double your daily vitamin A needs.
- One cup contains 2.5mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases.
- May protect Type-1 diabetics by helping to lower high blood sugar. A recent Chinese study found that extract of the Asian pumpkin helped protect the pancreatic cells of type-1 diabetics from further damage.
- A good source of vitamin C for immunity.
- The seeds are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, minerals zinc, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. Simply rinse them off after carving, pat dry, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Cultured Dairy: The Nutrition Benefits You Actually Need to Know
With increasing research linking the correlation between probiotics, gut health, and immunity, it’s no secret that the integrity of our gut is vital to our health. Although additional factors such as stress, antibiotic usage, and individual health conditions can contribute to the condition of our gut, a focus on healthy food choices is one of the easiest ways to support the microbiome.
Several studies have shown a strong association between the gut-brain-microbiota. Probiotics introduced to the gut have been found to support immunity, improve allergies, and improve digestion.
Studies have shown that reduced diversity of healthy gut bacteria during early years is associated with an increase in food allergies during school-age years. In addition, kefir made from whole milk helps absorb key nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin K is important because it helps your bones absorb calcium. It’s important to know that kefir contains a special trio: vitamin D, K, and calcium – all three crucial elements to support bone health.
Prebiotics + Probiotics = a Healthy You
Prebiotics are non-living, non-digestible carbohydrates naturally found in a variety of foods. Your body actually can’t digest prebiotics, so they’re what probiotics feed off of to remain actively working in your digestive system. They help the digestive system by promoting the growth of good bacteria. Prebiotics and probiotics work together in balance to make sure our digestive system stays on track and regular. Research has found that consuming a variety of prebiotic and probiotic food sources may improve your body’s natural functions, including both your immune and digestive systems.Servings: 1 - 2
- 1 cup Pumpkin Spice Lowfat Kefir
- ½ organic pumpkin puree
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup of ice (or more, as desired)
- whipped cream (for topping)
- Add all of the ingredients into the pitcher of a high-powered blender. Blend on high until smooth, or until the desired consistency is reached.
- Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!