Winter squash is a great source of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories, but are you aware that it can also help regulate blood sugar and promote cardiovascular health?
Studies have shown that improvement in blood sugar and insulin regulation occurs after eating winter squash and other Cucurbita foods. Certain nutrients in winter squash help to control blood sugar, the regulation of which is closely tied to the available supply of B-complex vitamins. Winter squash contains a significant amount of five B-complex vitamins: B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate.
Future research may further emphasize the cardiovascular health benefits of acorn squash and other winter squash. Winter squash provides several critical antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits – nutritional support necessary for reducing the risk of most cardiovascular problems. Preliminary evidence suggests that unique substances in winter squash act to partially block the formation of cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. Combined with its unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, winter squash is a particularly important food for a healthy diet.
All the winter squash at Liberty Market are organically grown and non-GMO – it is especially important to purchase organic winter squash, as winter squash has a propensity for drawing contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) out of the soil. Recent agricultural trials have shown that winter squash is an effective intercrop to use in drawing these contaminants out of the soil. While farmers growing winter squash as a food crop definitely do not want to transfer soil contaminants into the squash, this transfer is likely to happen, given the squash’ propensity for drawing up these contaminants. For this reason, you may wish to make a point of purchasing certified organic winter squash.
How about this recipe for acorn squash with fruits and nuts?
Acorn squash with fruits and nuts
- 3 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 apple, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place squash halves cut side down in baking pans. Fill pans with about 1/2 inch water. Bake squash 40 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place onions and celery in the skillet and cook until tender. Stir in the cinnamon.
Remove squash from the oven, carefully scrape the pulp out of the rinds and set the rinds aside. Mash the pulp with a potato masher, then mix in the egg, bread crumbs, raisins, apple and pecans. Pile this mixture into the rinds, place into baking dishes and bake 25 minutes or until heated through.
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