Pumpkin Health Tricks & Beauty Treats

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Growing up in New England, October was a magical month. It was the time of year when my family went to the local farm, bought gallons of fresh-pressed apple cider and picked out our pumpkins! If I concentrate hard enough, I can still conjure up the smell of apples and pumpkins in the crisp autumn air.

Much more than just an iconic symbol of the fall season, the health benefits of pumpkins are plentiful. Just one cup of the cooked, mashed orange stuff contains more than 200% of our daily recommended dose of Vitamin A, which keeps our vision sharp. That same one-cup serving has only 49 calories and is high in fiber, making you feel fuller longer. It also has more potassium than a banana, making it an excellent source of electrolytes after a workout and is high in carotenoids, which are believed to help keep skin wrinkle-free.

With so much goodness in the delicious orange fruit, I put together three recipes that allow you to benefit from all things pumpkin, inside and out.
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For Your Face:
Pumpkin Honey Face Mask
(Good for Sun Damage, Anti-Aging, Acne and Dry Skin)

What You Need:
3 Tablespoons organic pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon skim milk

What You Do:
1. Combine all three ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
2. Start with a clean, freshly-washed face.
3. Apply mask using fingertips or a medium makeup brush, avoiding area around eyes.
4. Let the mask set for 20-30 minutes.
5. Gently wash off with a warm, soft cloth.
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For Your Body:
Pumpkin Sugar Body Scrub
(Exfoliates and Moisturizes)

What You Need:
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons organic pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
2 Tablespoons coconut or sweet almond oil
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
What You Do:
Combine half the brown and white sugars in a medium mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and carrier oil. Stir until uniformly mixed. Mix in the cinnamon. Add the remain sugar and mix well. Store in an 8oz. wide-mouth glass jar.

Apply to your entire body with fingertips in a light circular motion. Rinse well.
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For Your Tummy:
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
(Immune-Boosting and Antioxident-Rich)

What You Need:
2/3 cup organic pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1 frozen banana
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup skim milk
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
a pinch of ginger
1 cup ice

What You Do:
Combine all the ingredients in a powerful blender like a Vitamix or Nutribullet. Add more milk to thin the texture, or ice to thicken it. Spice and sweeten to taste.

Zoe Kors

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