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Let’s Talk Nutrition: Winter Squash

My grand-aunt loved to walk through her garden, pointing out the medicinal value of her fruits, veggies and herbs. One of her favorite dishes was homemade squash casserole. Thanks to her, squash is one of my favorite winter foods. Orange-gold cubes of roasted butternut squash with a touch of olive oil, acorn squash baked with a little cinnamon and maple syrup, or a fragrant and satisfying squash and sweet potato soup…But beyond the taste, I am amazed that such a simple food – so easy to store and prepare – provides such a range of nutrients. From skin care to cancer prevention, winter squash offers health in every bite.

Healthy skin: Squash contains carotenoids – orange pigments that accumulate in skin. They protect our skin from UV damage and rebuild layers, by promoting cell division to keep skin healthy. Low levels of carotenoids in skin have been associated with acne and dry skin, and aging skin. Eating a cup of squash provides about 400 mg of vitamin A as beta-carotene.