The distinct sweet smell and flavor of pumpkin spice can give us a warm fuzzy feeling during the holidays. What better way to enjoy this spice that we’ve associated with comfort than by adding it to a hot drink? If you’re one of those people who absolutely love fall, there is a high chance that you’ve sipped a soothing mug of pumpkin spice latte.
However, if you take a closer look at the nutritional content of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, you can see that it’s a health disaster waiting to happen. The sugar content alone is something that should alarm you, as a standard pumpkin spice latte can pack up to 50 grams of sugar per serving!1 While Starbucks and other coffee shops can offer you the convenience of getting your pumpkin spice fix on the go, they also expose you to a variety of health repercussions because of the excessive sugar content.
If you’re looking for a healthier and a more natural version of this popular drink, try this recipe instead. Not only does this recipe use only high-quality ingredients, but it also saves you from overloading on sugar by using only the natural sweetness of the pumpkin puree.
Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte: Make This Fall Favorite at Home
- Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Heat on stovetop until it simmers.
- Top with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice.
- Serve hot.
What Exactly Is Pumpkin Spice?
Pumpkin spice is basically the same combination of spices traditionally added to a pumpkin pie; hence, the name. It’s a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger, clove and allspice. This means that pumpkin spice, the natural kind made from fresh spices, can offer you a slew of health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits that you can get from the following ingredients of pumpkin spice:
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon contains high amounts of calcium, fiber and manganese. These components help promote bone, reproductive and cell health.
- Nutmeg. This brown spice is packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that help in disease prevention and pain management. It is also rich in manganese, copper and magnesium, which are essential for cell repair.
- Allspice. Allspice has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help in reducing the effects of arthritis, gout and muscle pain. It can help with digestion, immunity and dental health as well.2
- Clove. As an expectorant, clove can help in alleviating inflammation in the respiratory system. It also promotes the production of gastric acids, which can aid in digestion.
However, because of the popularity of the pumpkin spice flavor, a handful of companies have made it a point to add artificial flavors and shocking amounts of sugar to better replicate how freshly baked pumpkin pie tastes. When buying pumpkin spice flavored products or just the spice alone, make sure that you check whether they’re organic and free of any artificial ingredients. You can also opt to make your own pumpkin spice blend to be sure that all the ingredients are of the highest quality.
What Health Benefits Can You Get From Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is actually extremely nutrient-dense and fiber-rich. It is also one of the main ingredients in pumpkin spice latte, because it holds everything together and gives the drink its natural sweetness. Some of the nutrients you can get from pumpkin include:
- A surplus of vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is filled with vitamin A, C, calcium and iron, which are essential nutrients to promote and maintain good health.
- Antioxidants and flavonoids. The high antioxidant and flavonoid content of pumpkin can help in the prevention of heart disease, cancer, macular degeneration and other diseases that may be triggered by oxidative stress.
- Fiber. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber, which helps keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. Eating foods that are high in fiber can help you lose weight and promote better digestion.3
When buying pumpkins, make sure that you go for the organically grown ones instead of those that are conventionally grown. Pumpkins may not harbor as many pesticides as other crops, but they are still exposed to a variety of chemicals that can be harmful to you and the environment. Pumpkins found in bulk bins are most probably conventionally grown, which means that you should steer clear from these.4
Coffee May Protect You From Chronic Disease
While I don’t usually drink coffee because I can’t stand the taste, it would be unfair to snub the impressive health benefits of this “liquid energy.” Coffee has been around for thousands of years and has been widely utilized for its energy-boosting properties. If you drink coffee as an everyday breakfast drink, you’re probably reaping the benefits. Just make sure that you’re not pouring insane amounts of creamer, sugar or other artificial sweeteners into your cup. Some of the impressive benefits you can get from coffee include:
- Protects against clogged arteries. A study showed that people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop heart disease. Coffee drinkers had little to no calcium deposits in their coronary arteries compared to non-coffee drinkers.5
- Lowers the risk for melanoma. Coffee has been observed to promote cell apoptosis, fight against oxidative stress and alleviate inflammation in the epidermal cells.
- May prevent dementia. The high caffeine content of coffee promotes brain health by providing the proper triggers for the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which are responsible for activating brain stem cell conversion to new neurons.
- Supports reproductive health. Studies show that daily consumption of coffee can lower your risk for prostate cancer or endometrial cancer by as much as 20 percent.6
It should be noted that coffee consumption is not at all recommended for pregnant women as it can adversely affect the development of your unborn child. Your risk of suffering a miscarriage also increases, as well as heart damage and birth defects on the part of the baby.
Sources and References
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