Superfood of the Week: Winter Squash

Ingredients | | December 14, 2009 at 8:00 am
Photo by madabandon.

Photo by madabandon.

It’s no coincidence that Summer squash and zucchini are watery hydrating foods that are low in calories, while winter squash varieties are more nourishing and dense. Eating seasonally ensures a varied diet and it makes sense: our bodies need different types of nourishment during different seasons. When it comes to nutrition, nature knows best.

Photo by bhamsandwich.

Photo by bhamsandwich.

Winter squash come in many sizes and shapes.  Look for butternut, acorn, spaghetti, hubbarb, turban, and pumpkinThese hardy gourds are safely encased packages of nutritious, sweet and creamy flesh and are high in beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese.

Beta-cryptoxanthin, a relative of beta-carotene, found in orange and red foods including squash has been found in studies to lower one’s risk for lung cancer.

The carotenoids in winter squash are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, preventing the oxidation of cholesterol and development of atherosclerosis in the blood vessels.

It is important to note that carotenoids in winter squash are fat-soluble, so here’s your excuse to slather on some butter or olive oil to optimize the absorption of all of the colorful goodies your squash has to offer.

Some of my favorite dishes of the season are sweet butternut squash soup, spaghetti squash as a gluten free pasta dish, and a simple roasted acorn squash accompanying a deliciously crisp, roast chicken.

So preheat your oven and try one of these recipes for dinner this week:

NishantDr. Nishant Rao is a co-founder of He is a well-traveled naturopathic doctor and new father, practicing an integrative approach to create wellness in and around Los Angeles. Become a patient or discover his practice.

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