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butternut

Butternut is not only nutritious, it is rich in fibre antioxidants, vitamins and minerals but also a versatile ingredient to cook with. It can be added to a wide variety of dishes, such as curries, stews and pies for an easy boost of nutrition and flavour.

 

It may help with weight loss and protect against conditions like cancer, heart disease, and mental decline.

Interesting facts

 

Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, butternut squash is technically a fruit. It’s also commonly known as winter squash. Contrary to the name, winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the autumn.

Rich in

 

  • Vitamin A (lutein, zeaxanthin)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Fibre

Key health benefits

 

 

  • May slow bloody glucose rise. The type of fibre within butternut has been shown to prevent blood sugar from rising after eating in animal studies (1).

  • May protects from cancer. Loaded with vitamin A (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) these flavonoids can help protect cells from the damaging effects of oxygen and have also been shown to have a role in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells (1,2).

  • May contribute to heart health. Being rich in potassium, butternut helps to counteract the deleterious effects of sodium on blood pressure. The carotenoids in butternut also protect the heart by reducing inflammation and controlling the expression of specific genes related to heart disease (3).

  • May aid weight loss. Containing both insoluble and soluble fibre butternut can help to support appetite control and with blood sugar balance (4).

Cooking tips

 

Knock on the skin (where the seeds are) and if it sounds hollow then it is ripe. If it sounds dull then the squash may either be unripe or spoiled. If you have bought an unripe squash place it in a warm sunny spot to ripen. If it is mature and ripe then store the squash in a cool dark area, but do not refrigerate.

Sasha Watkins

Registered dietitian and co-founder of Field Doctor

IG: @sashadietitian

Key Nutrients: