Winter squash. I love it. I’m not sure exactly when my obsession began but I think it was a Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Brown Butter and Sage Sauce at a little Italian restaurant in Chicago somewhere near Halsted and Diversey in the mid- to late- 90’s. I don’t recall the name. They had it every year in the fall and I loved it.
We completed the 5-day (Peri-)Menopause Detox and guess what, there was a lot of winter squash on the menu. One of the participants asked why. Of course, I gave her the obvious and selfish reasons – I love it and am obsessed with it …and also that it’s a great seasonal vegetable with real health benefits for detoxing and women’s health.
I thought I’d outline the benefits here and invite you to come cook squash with me at my All About Squash class on Wednesday, Nov 15th in Fairfax…so you can become obsessed too!
Five health benefits to winter squash are:
- They are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps absorb toxins and unneeded cholesterol and estrogens. It also helps keeps your bowel movements moving or regular so that all these toxin actually get out of your body. Winter squash’s fiber content offsets the sugar content giving it a low glycemic load of only 3. (Anything below 10 is considered low.) So while you might not believe it, winter squash actually helps regulate your blood sugar. The soluble fiber in the form of pectin is also soothing to your intestines.
- They have high antioxidant power. Winter squash is high in beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your body. This is what gives them the orange flesh color. Vit A helps reduce inflammation and also keeps your skin looking healthy. Beta-carotenes also nourish lungs…which here in the Bay Area we all want to continue to do after our exposure to smoke from wildfires up north. The anti-oxidant power of beta-carotenes also protect against cancers.
- They are high in B vitamins. B vitamins help you to stay looking good. They are important for your metabolism and key nutrients for maintaining healthy skin and muscle tone. B vitamins also keep you healthy by boosting your immune system. They also keep your mood high and your stress levels low. You use up B vitamins supply daily, especially when under stress. It’s important to replenish every day.
- They have high amounts of omega-3s, which adds to the anti-inflammatory quality of them. There are not that many plant sources of omega-3’s and it’s nice to have this to offset the amount of omega-6 in your daily diet.
- They have a high mineral content. Potassium, calcium, manganese and zinc. All of these are critical for bone health and hormone balance.
So, you see, winter squash are a great vegetable/fruit to add to your seasonal rotation.
I love butternut squash but I also love changing it up with Red Kuri and Delicata. Have you tried these? There is such a huge the variety available. It’s fun to learn and play with the different types.
Come learn about the different squash available and how to cook with them with me. Join me at my All About Squash Cooking Class Wednesday, November 15th in Fairfax.