Fall brings with it a wealth of nutrient dense winter squash. Some varieties include: Pumpkin, Acorn, Butternut, Hubbard and Spaghetti. These beautifully colored squash are rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is responsible for giving vegetables their vibrant orange and yellow hue.
Beta-carotene is needed for our body to make vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for our bone and skin health, our vision and eye health, a strong immune system and normal division and growth of cells.
Benefits of eating more Squash:
Cancer Prevention: Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that prevents cell damage and stops the growth of cancer cells. It is a necessary part of normal cell division and growth.
Stops Heart Disease: Vitamin A keeps cholesterol from binding together to form plaque and preventing it from attaching to the walls of the arteries, which puts stress on the heart.
Immune Booster: Beta-carotene protects white blood cells. White blood cells act as sentinels that find and destroy harmful microbes and mutated cells and destroy them. White blood cells also clear away dead and dying cells from the body.
Anti-inflammatory: Winter squash contains a group of pytochemicals called cucurbitacins which fight against inflammation.
Healthy Eyes: Vitamin A is an essential nutrient to maintain good vision and eye health. Without proper amounts of vitamin A in our diet we loose our ability to see in low light during the night.
Winter squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C for a healthy immune system and faster wound healing. Winter squash is also high in iron for the production of red blood cells and proper muscle function. It is also a source of dietary fiber which can stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system and can help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.
Winter squash is as delicious as it is colorful. Make them part of your daily menu by trying these recipes for every meal of the day.
What is your favorite way to eat winter squash?