While fall might have you wanting to down a whole pumpkin like the guy in the photo, I have a pretty tasty pumpkin bar recipe for you that might be more manageable to chew. After reading about the many health benefits of the selected spices below, you might start to wonder which cupboard your medicine is really in.
Cinnamon: The active compound in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde, has been shown to decrease blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C, total cholesterol, and triglycerides and increase "good" HDL cholesterol. These are all great effects for heart and metabolic health. Cinnamon also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties having been shown to be effective against Candida albicans and H. pylori.
Nutmeg: Some of the benefits found to be associated with nutmeg include reducing total and LDL cholesterol, killing of leukemia cells, reducing aging (by inhibiting the enzyme elastase than breaks down elastin), reducing anxiety and depression, increasing libido by stimulating the central nervous system, anticonvulsant activity, and reducing rotavirus induced diarrhea.
Clove: Clove is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and can act as a pain reliever. Clove has been used historically for tooth pain. Bacteria clove has shown to be effective against include Staphylococcus, Proteus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, and H. pylori.
Ginger: Ginger is well known to help nausea and motion sickness. Gingerol compounds in ginger are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral. Arthritis, cancer, asthma, heartburn, upset stomach, heat attack, stroke, and menstrual cramps all might benefit from ginger.
Now here's the recipe...
Pumpkin Bars (Gluten & Grain Free)
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 3/4 cups coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 stick butter (organic/grass fed is best - you could try subbing coconut oil for a dairy free version)
- 3/4 cups honey (preferably local)
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin (plain without added sugar or spices)
- 3 eggs
- Dark chocolate chips, optional (the darker the better)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl (almond flour through ginger).
- Gently melt the butter in a sauce pan. You can add the honey to the sauce pan as well if it needs softening.
- Mix all of the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl (butter through eggs).
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well to combine (I used a hand mixer).
- Fold in desired amount of chocolate chips. You can also trying adding in walnuts and/or pecans and/or topping with pumpkin seeds and/or shredded coconut. Make them your own :)
- Transfer to a 10x10 baking dish lined with unbleached parchment paper.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool then cut into squares (or whatever shape you prefer) and enjoy!
All spice information except as noted below was obtained from:
Aggarwal, B.B. (2011). Healing spices: How to use 50 everyday and exotic spices to boost health and beat disease. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing.
Ginger and menstrual cramp reference:
Ozgoli, G., Goli, M., & Moattar, F. (2009). Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(2), 129-132. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19216660