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updated: 11/5/2012 11:33 AM

Your health: Pumpkin can pump up chili

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  • Putting pumpkin in your chili not only tastes good, but it can help your overall health.

    Putting pumpkin in your chili not only tastes good, but it can help your overall health.


Pumpkin power

Adding pumpkin to your chili is perfect for cool fall evenings, says The Washington Post. Why?

Pumpkins are more than just for Halloween decorations. They are also edible, delicious and nutritious. When fresh pumpkin is not available, canned pumpkin can be a convenient alternative, saving lots of preparation time.

Pumpkin adds a velvety creaminess to chili. Plus, this bright orange gourd happens to be packed with disease-fighting nutrients:

• Calcium, which promotes bone health.

• Potassium, a mineral balancer and fluid regulator that also helps maintain normal blood pressure and might reduce your risk for bone loss.

• Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps block some of the damage caused by free radicals.

• Vitamin A from the carotenoids alpha- and beta-carotene, which could reduce your risk for certain cancers and heart disease. Vitamin A also fights off infections, protects against some of the degenerative aspects of aging and benefits your lungs, skin and eye health.

This hearty chili also contains extra heart-healthy fiber from the pumpkin, which aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling fuller longer.

Holiday weight gain

For many people, the holiday season began last week with Halloween and ends with a multipound weight gain by the new year. If you're looking for a way to offset some of those calories, a slew of new exercise DVDs is here to help, The Washington Post says.

"Dance Off the Inches: Latin Cardio Party" includes three routines based on samba, raggaeton and cumbia dance forms. The 10 Minute Solution series has two new releases: "Tighten & Tone Pilates" and "Cardio Hip Hop."

The Element series also has two new DVDs on the market: "Accelerated Pilates with a Resistance Band," a 30-minute sculpting routine that comes with a free resistance band, and "Yoga for Energy & Relaxation," which comes with two yoga programs that will at least help take your mind off that stash of Snickers bars.

Fighting fatigue

Certain types of foods can help pre-empt fatigue, according to Harvard Medical School.

Candy and other simple sugars give you a quick burst of energy, but that boost fades quickly and can leave you feeling depleted and wanting to eat more. But whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

Also, eating small meals and snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain.

Some people begin feeling sluggish just a few hours after eating. But it doesn't take much to feed your brain. A piece of fruit or a few nuts should do it.

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