Pumpkin Pecan Muffins RecipeApril 29, 2011 Written by JP [Font too small?]
I was recently interviewed about the role of natural medicine in the context of health care spending. One question posed inquired about which remedies I thought should be integrated into modern medicine in order to save lives and money. My answer was a surprise to the interviewer. “I think nutritional experts should reach out to leaders of their respective communities and explain the importance of eating a nutrient-dense, whole food breakfast”. I went on to point out that five recent studies directly linked eating breakfast to: a) lower concentrations of lead in the blood; b) reduced likelihood of overweight and; c) improved cognitive functioning. The majority of this research focused on adolescents and young children. Imagine the financial ramifications of dramatically lowering obesity/overeating and the medical management thereof in the youth population alone. Now, add to the picture the academic and economic value to society if more children improved scholastic performance due to healthier nutrition and protection from lead toxicity. (1,2,3,4,5)
I believe that keeping a handful of delicious and practical recipes on hand can the make the difference between having breakfast regularly and not having it at all. The three biggest factors that determine whether households eat or don’t eat breakfast are conviction of the health benefits, availability of resources and time. I hope my opening paragraph and the previous column I wrote about the value of low-glycemic breakfasts are enough to address the first issue, and that the recipe that follows will address the remaining two factors.
A publication in the December 2010 issue of the journal Nutrition Research Reviews sang the praises of one of my favorite fruits – pumpkins. According to the scientific summary, pumpkins have demonstrated anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and are poised to have an even greater impact as more clinical research is conducted. Pumpkins contain a considerable amount of beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) and other powerful carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), fiber and potassium. But it’s the relatively unknown and unseen phytochemicals in pumpkins that may be responsible for some of their most promising medicinal properties. For instance, pumpkins contain substances known as alkaloids, flavonoids and glyceroglycolipids which are currently being investigated as potential “drugs” of the future in the treatment of conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. (6,7,8,9,10)
Pumpkin Pecan Muffins
1 cup organic sprouted flax meal
1 cup organic pecan meal
15 oz can organic pumpkin
4 organic, omega-3 eggs
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
1 tsp organic pumpkin spice
zest of half an organic orange
1 tsp Nutra Salt or salt
4 dropperfuls NuNaturals Pure Liquid Stevia *
* Alcohol Free Version
Nutritional Content – Calories: 180. Protein: 6 grams. Fat: 14 grams. Fiber: 6 grams. “Net” Carbohydrates: 3 grams.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Make the pecan meal from scratch by pulsing pecan halves in a food processor until they take on a flour-like consistency. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, liquid stevia and vanilla extract together. Fold the canned pumpkin and orange zest into the wet mix. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until it forms a smooth batter. Allow batter to rest and thicken for 5 to 10 minutes. Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin wrappers and fill with batter to the top of the muffin molds. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick slides out cleanly. This recipes makes 12 medium-sized muffins.
Dietary Monounsaturated Fats May Support Healthier HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol Levels
Source: CMAJ • December 14, 2010; 182 (18). (link)
In many of my grainless recipes, I opt for almond flour/meal as the core ingredient. But it’s a good idea to mix things up from time to time in order to vary nutrient intake. Almonds are among my top nut picks. However, pecans are quite impressive in their own right. From a nutritional standpoint, they’re an excellent source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, healthy fats and minerals (magnesium and potassium). In terms of their influence on the human body, current studies inform us that pecans are a tremendous resource in the battle against cardiovascular disease by protecting cholesterol from oxidative damage and by lowering blood sugar, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, insulin and triglycerides. What’s more, foods rich in monounsaturated fat, such as pecans, may also reduce the risk of depression in at-risk populations including seniors. (11,12,13,14,15,16,17)
If you’re at all a fan of pumpkin and muffins, I hope you’ll try this recipe out. I’m convinced that it would be of great benefit for adults and children alike to eat more foods like this – especially as a start to the day. Also, please note that from start to finish, this recipe only takes about 1 hour to make. The ingredients are widely available and the baking and preparation couldn’t be easier. But what’s equally important is this: the above information becomes exponentially more meaningful if you pass it along to those you know. Or perhaps, if you have the means, bake an extra dozen and share them with your loved ones or someone in need. At this very moment, we all have the capacity to revolutionize the health of the world around us. This is an example of one small step that can be taken in that direction.
Tags: Carotenoids, Gluten, Low Carb
Posted in Children's Health, Nutrition, Recipes