When we think of nutritionally packed foods, we generally think of summer and all the fresh summer produce. However, you might be surprised at the variety of winter fruits and vegetables that surpass the nutritional value of those in summer and are among the best for your health. It is time to be reintroduced to Winter Squash – one of the healthiest vegetables known to us.
Prepare Your Body For Winter. Health Benefits of Winter Squash
Winter Squash comes in many varieties which include acorn squash, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash. Native to the Americas, winter squash is a very tasty and nutritionally valuable vegetable.
- Winter squash is a very good source of vitamins C, B1, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, and dietary fiber.
- In addition, winter squash is a good source of vitamin B6 and niacin.
- The folate content in winter squash helps in breaking homocysteine, which has a damaging effect on the blood vessels.
- With it’s yellow-orange pulp, winter squash is an excellent source of beta carotene.
- Winter squash provides a greater percentage of certain carotenoids than any other food. These include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- The rich content of beta-carotene makes it a healthy vegetable to fight against asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Winter squash also contains a high amount of dietary fiber.
- It is high in potassium, which is a heart healthy mineral.
- It also contains copper, iron, and phosphorus.
- It is an excellent regulator of the digestive process, and because of the huge content of pectin, it can help with the removal of cholesterol from the blood.
- Anti-cancer properties are also found in winter squash due to a very good amount of vitamin C and a very good amount of the antioxidant mineral manganese as well.
- Recent research has indicated that the cell wall polysaccharides found in winter squash also exhibits antioxidant properties.
Year-round; peaks early fall through winter.
How to select
Choose firm and heavy in size. Look for clean, thick skin with no scuffs or blemishes.The skin should be hard since a tender rind indicates immaturity.
How to store
Winter squash should be stored in a cool, dry place and can be kept for several months.
How to prepare
Before cutting and cooking, rinse winter squash under cold running water. Depending on the recipe, winter squash can be used either in the peeled form or unpeeled form.
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