And not just beta-carotene. Nope, that beta has an estimated 500 family members. And you thought your relatives were a handful. Actually this family, called carotenoids, actually work best when all together. Just another reason to eat whole, fresh plant foods!
Pumpkins and carrots are both packed with a variety of carotenoids including: beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All are useful, if not critical, in preventing cancer - specifically bladder, cervix, prostate, lung and colon cancers. Some studies have shown a risk reduction of 30 - 50 percent [20 percent in post-menopausal breast cancer]! Moreover, beta-cryptoxanthin has been shown to have strong antioxidant properties which are helpful in fighting off and reducing the risk of many diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. Carotenoids, working as a team, provide enormous benefits for the eyes by protecting them from macular degeneration and cataracts.
Oh, and just so you know, a cup of pumpkin packs in more than 2.5 grams of fiber!
1 banana, halved and frozen
1 c. homemade pumpkin puree
2 carrots, washed and cut into chunks
1 - 2 c. homemade coconut, cashew, or walnut milk milk
juice from 1/2 a lemon
4 - 6 soaked dates + soaking water*
1 T. honey or maple syrup
1/8 tsp. of ground cinnamon
large handful of ice
Place all in blender and blend on high until very smooth. Serve immediately!
* Place dates in a 2 cup glass measuring jar. Cover with boiling water, enough to fill to 1 1/2 c. line. Let stand for 10 minutes.