One food that comes to mind when the fall season rolls around is pumpkin. Between pumpkin pies, pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin soup, this rounded produce is the star of the show in many autumn recipes. Pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family along with squashes and gourds. Its nutritious content and versatile flavor can make pumpkin hard to resist when in season. However, if you have food allergies or intolerances then you may have to be careful about what fall food favorites you consume. Let’s take a deeper look at pumpkin and whether or not it can be enjoyed by someone on a low FODMAP regimen.
All about pumpkin
Although it may be considered a vegetable by some, pumpkins are actually fruits. This is because they are a product of the seed-bearing structure of flowering plants. Pumpkins are full of inflammation-fighting antioxidants as well as heart healthy potassium and fiber. However, these nutrients are best obtained in pumpkins’ fresh form since canned pumpkin can sometimes contain added sugars and preservatives.
Beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body is found in rich amounts in orange-colored produce like pumpkins. This antioxidant makes pumpkin a helpful food source in fighting inflammation in the body. As a result, eating fiber- and antioxidant-rich like pumpkins can help lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
FODMAPs and pumpkin
When it comes to FODMAPs and pumpkin, it all comes down to the type of pumpkin and portion size. For example, according to Monash University, Japanese pumpkin is considered low FODMAP in a 2/3 cup diced serving. FODMAPs were not detected in this type of pumpkin though, so you could eat more and stay low FODMAP safe if you wanted to.
On the other hand, butternut pumpkin is only low FODMAP in a 1/3 cup diced serving. Once you hit ½ cup, this type of pumpkin becomes moderately high in the polyol mannitol as well as moderately high in galacto-oligosaccharides. This type of pumpkin reaches high levels of galacto-oligosaccharides at a 2/3 cup diced serving.
When it comes to processed pumpkin, like canned pumpkin, it is only considered low FODMAP in a 1/3 cup serving. This type of pumpkin reaches moderately high levels of fructan and galacto-oligosaccharides at ½ cup. And if you decide to enjoy roasted pumpkin seeds, stick to two tablespoons to stay low FODMAP.
Ways to enjoy pumpkin while staying low FODMAP
The key to enjoying pumpkin while staying low FODMAP is to portion out your pumpkin when necessary and to choose recipes that are low FODMAP safe. The traditional pumpkin pie may be off limits, but that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a pumpkin-flavored low FODMAP dessert. This recipe by Casa de Sante helps you enjoy the flavor of pumpkin pie, while nixing the crust and using low FODMAP ingredients.
And if you want to enjoy the taste of pumpkin, but are always on the go, then the pumpkin smoothie recipe is perfect for you. This recipe combines pumpkin puree with LemonAID digestive drink, almond milk, banana, maple syrup, pumpkin spice, and ice to create a creamy and flavorful gut-friendly beverage. You could also add some low FODMAP protein powder for extra nutrition and flavor if you choose.
Take home message
The fall season can bring many flavorful fruits and vegetables in season. Pumpkin is one fruit that takes precedence during this time in many recipes. However, to enjoy the delicious flavor of pumpkin without straying from your low FODMAP regimen, it’s important to consider portion sizes when consuming certain pumpkins. And you can still enjoy your fall recipe favorites like pumpkin pie, as long as you make sure your recipes contain only low FODMAP ingredients. Visit the Casa de Sante website for more information on low FODMAP food choices.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD of LighttrackNutrition.com