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Butternut Squash. The seasonal superfood

Butternut Squash. The seasonal superfood

By Bethan Townsend

As autumn leaves are turning orange, so are the foods that come into season! Pumpkins, squash and other root vegetables are stocking the shelves and the supermarkets and it’s the butternut squash under the microscope today.

The health benefits of simple root vegetables are so often overlooked for the flashier, trendier leaves of kale and spinach, but no more. It’s time for the humble squash to have its moment of glory, and this time of year is the perfect time for it to shine!

Antioxidants

The butternut squash has all the characteristics of a superfood when you check out its nutritional profile. It is packed with antioxidant carotenoids which protect your body’s cells from free radicals. Beta-carotene is known for making the bright orange colour we know so well in many vegetables and whilst the butternut squash is full of it, it’s also high in beta-cryptoxanthin and alpha carotene. This potent combination is what gives squash their high antioxidant potential.

Eye Health

Two other antioxidants in high volumes in squash work together to give your eyes an extra health boost. Zeaxanthin and lutein are fantastic for protecting your vision and they concentrate in the macular region of your eyes where they’re used to protect your eyes from UV and blue light radiation.

High levels of these antioxidants in your body will help protect your eyes from age related degeneration and even cataracts.

Vitamins and Minerals

Butternut squash offers a ton of vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system. It’s high in vitamin C with good levels of vitamins E and K. They also contain a range of B vitamins including niacin, folate and pyridoxine. From a mineral perspective you’ll also benefit from magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, zinc and manganese, amongst others.

Squash versus Spud

In terms of nutrition butternut squash beats potato every time. It has higher levels of almost all antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and it also offers fibre and much fewer calories. You could swap in squash for potatoes in many occasions making mash, wedges and more. 

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