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PUMPKINS, PUMPKINS EVERYWHERE!!

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About the only time most people give any thought at all to pumpkins is during the fall. And even then, most pumpkins are only bought for the express purpose of being stabbed with a carving knife and mutilated to resemble some gap-toothed vampire freak. Pumpkins are also found useful for pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Doubtlessly, few people for whom the lowly pumpkin is used for these purposes have ever even given thought to mashing the filling up and using it to stuff ravioli or tortellini.

Like the carrot, the pumpkin is overflowing with beta-carotene; as little as a half-cup can get you 400 times the RDA of Vitamin A. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and studies indicate a diet high in pumpkin can help stave off some forms of cancer. As if that weren't enough, pumpkins also contain Vitamin C, so if you're tired of downing several glasses of orange juice and you've got a taste for pumpkin you are in luck. Not only will eating more pumpkin boost your RDA figures for Vitamin A and Vitamin C, but pumpkin is also low in calories; boil a pumpkin and you'll take in even fewer calories. And as if THAT weren't enough, pumpkins are also a great source for fiber. Of course, if you're going to be taking that route, avoid the big pumpkins that make great jack o'lanterns and opt for the smaller ones, also known as sugar pumpkins.

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