The Unassuming Butternut Squash Provides a Powerhouse of Nutrients!

Butternut Squash...I'm embarrassed to admit that this was never an active player in my food repertoire...that is until lately. Squash, both summer and winter have never really called to me, aside from Pumpkin and that's only because of Pumpkin Pie, although I adore raw pumpkin seeds and the magnesium and zinc that come with them.  Because this winter felt exceptionally cold, I started playing around with soup recipes,  even ones that called for winter squash.  And what I experienced was nothing short of ambrosial!  How can I call myself a "foodie" having never danced with this lovely plant before?  Out of all the recipes I played with, the one that truly made a believer out of me, is one by Sarah Britton, titled Butternut Squash, Leek and Apple Soup.  For ease of preparation, minimal yet interesting combo of ingredients and absolute incredible taste, this recipe is one to try. 

But enough about flavor, lets get to the nitty gritty of nutrients, for this member of the Cucurbitaceae family  packs a wollop of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory goodness.  Alpha Carotene, Beta Carotene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin for starters.  This is a powerhouse of Vitamin A, followed with C and Vitamin E, Alpha Tocopherols along with being rich in B complex. But there's more, Butternut Squash provides a significant amount of potassium along with magnesium, calcium and manganese.  And who would have thought that squash contains Omega 3's but it does, alpha linolenic (ALA) to be exact.

So what does all this mean?  It's unique anti-oxidant and  anti-inflammatory composition make it a strong contender for a healthy heart diet in preventing cardiovascular disease, assists with bone health and functioning of nervous and immune systems, improves blood sugar and insulin regulation, provides nutrients essential for optimal eyesight and integrity of our skin, and antioxidant manganese is important for cancer prevention.  Pretty impressive.

If you haven't made Winter Squash a frequent visitor to your table, I encourage you to give it a try as I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  Easily steamed or baked, it can be added to salads for a lovely pop of color, but who wouldn't want to include all the above nutrients as well?  Bon appetit'.

You can find the recipe for Butternut Squash, Fennel and Apple Soup in my recipe section.