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Eat More Pumpkin for Eye Health and Better Brain Function

By: Bulletproof Staff

Eat More Pumpkin for Eye Health and Better Brain Function

It’s that time of year again. October and September are prime pumpkin season, and America’s favorite squash is at it again. Pumpkin spice-themed goods are coming out of the woodwork.

Most fall-themed treats come with lots of sugar. In fact, some of them don’t even have real pumpkin. If you like the taste of pumpkin but don’t want the sugar, you’re in luck; this versatile fall flavor is packed with eye- and brain-enhancing compounds.

Here’s a breakdown why pumpkin is one of the most Bulletproof starches you can eat, complete with a couple recipes to get you in the autumn spirit. Enjoy.

Why you should eat more pumpkin

Beta-Carotene: Pumpkin’s orange color is thanks to its high carotene content. Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant that protects against age-related diseases and cancer by shielding your cells from free radical damage [1]. Beta-carotene also converts to vitamin A in your body, and just one cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin A is crucial for keeping your eyes young and sharp and your bones, skin, and other connective tissue strong [2].

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that can actually be a little dangerous if you’re supplementing without the guidance of a professional, as the pill form bioaccumulates; much better to get your vitamin A from richly colored vegetables and pastured animal products [3].

Lutein and zeaxanthin: Pumpkin is rich in these two eye- and brain-enhancing carotenoids, too [4]. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect your eyes from UV rays and are linked with better eyesight in general, especially when it comes to night blindness or sensitivity to glare. Diets rich in these nutrients may also stave off age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and improve cognitive function.

Older adults who took lutein and zeaxanthin showed better memory recall while using less brain power [5]. These two antioxidants are more bioavailable with fat, so make sure to pair your pumpkin with a hefty dose of butter for maximum absorption [6].

Here are a couple ways to get your daily dose of carotene-rich pumpkin:

The Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice Un-Latte

Servings: This will make approximately 4-6 cups of pumpkin spice coffee.

NOTE: This is not an everyday kind of drink, but a special treat! Stick with classic Bulletproof Coffee to feel your absolute best all day long.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup full fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. Brain Octane Oil 
  • 3 tbsp. organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. grass-fed unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • Optional:  1-2 tsp. xylitol or stevia (to taste)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. raw whipped cream or whipped coconut cream on top

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Over medium heat, simmer for approximately five minutes.  Stir well to evenly blend spices and oils.
  2. In blender, add 2 1/2 cups Bulletproof coffee (brewed strong), add pumpkin spice mixture from saucepan – blend on high for 30 seconds until creamy and frothy.
  3. (Option: if you don’t have blender, add premade coffee to pumpkin mixture and use hand blender in saucepan – blend till smooth and frothy.)
  4. Optional: add xylitol. Alternatively, for a sweeter (but less Bulletproof) version, add 1 tablespoon Raw Organic Maple Syrup to the blend. 
  5. Optional: add raw cream/whipped cream on top for a special treat, if you can find it!

*** A quicker hack would just be to add a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin pie filling to your morning cup of Bulletproof Coffee. It’s tastier than it sounds.

Upgraded Pumpkin Spice Pancakes4d0a6818-2

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. xylitol or stevia to taste
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup almond or flax meal
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Optional: Add 2-3 tbsp.Ugrass-fed collagen for a boost of connective tissue supporting amino acids!

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or in a bowl with a hand mixer
  2. Grease an iron skillet with grass-fed butter or ghee
  3. Cook pancake mixture on a low heat until each side is golden brown and pancakes are puffed up (about 3 minutes each side)
  4. Add more butter and sprinkle with broken-up chocolate or vanilla Collagen Bars!

For even more pumpkin goodness, check out this pumpkin pie recipe. Make it, then pair it with this keto-friendly, high-fat ice cream. Also, check out this video recipe for pumpkin flan, which is featured in the Bulletproof Cookbook.

Get your beta-carotene and enjoy it, too! Leave your thoughts about these recipes in the comments, and subscribe below for more recipes and ways to upgrade your performance. Thanks for reading!

[1] http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/12/05/jnci.djs627.full

[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

[3] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199404143301501

[4] http://bjo.bmj.com/content/82/8/907.full

[5] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10799382

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