As summer ends and we start to enjoy autumn, we can also take advantage of some delicious vegetables that are plentiful this time of year. For this September edition of “From the Garden…”, we are highlighting butternut squash. Healthy, yet succulent enough to warrant the moniker “butternut,” this is the perfect addition to an autumn meal.
Butternut Squash is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. Although technically a fruit, butternut squash is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, toasted, puréed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins.
Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects such as spina bifida.
However, perhaps the most noteworthy health perk of butternut squash comes from it yellow/orange coloring. The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, the gourd boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. What’s more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C.
As if this weren’t enough, butternut squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content. Incorporating more of this hearty winter staple into your diet could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
There are many delicious ways to prepare this Fall favorite, but here is one of the easiest and tastiest ways:
Simple Roasted Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash, peeled and roughly cubed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs, like thyme, rosemary, or sage (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Toss the butternut squash cubes with a generous drizzling of olive oil, a large pinch of salt, pepper, and herbs (if using) on a baking sheet. Spread out in a single even layer, and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender and lightly browned.
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Read more online at: http://www.healthline.com/health-blogs/diet-diva/superfood-butternut-squash