While we've been doing our detox this month I have also been making a conscious effort to plan my meals and do a lot more cooking at home. I personally find it can be a challenge to get all my servings of fruits and especially veggies, so planning out what we are going to be eating has been a huge help! By going to a local farmers market and choosing seasonal produce I've also been inspired to try a few new recipes out when figuring out what exactly I should do with the 4 different types of winter squash (squashes?) I came home with (pumpkin, butternut, acorn & spaghetti). So far we've roasted and pureed the butternut into soup, made a super healthy (and delicious) gluten free pumpkin pudding (twice!), baked the spaghetti squash and used it as a replacement for actual spaghetti and are planning on having the acorn baked with a bit of butter and brown sugar tonight!
In addition to being great tasting, winter squash are also very healthy! For example, winter squash, like other richly colored vegetables, provide an excellent source of carotenes. Generally, the richer the color, the richer the concentration. They also offer a very good source of vitamins B1 and C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, fiber, and potassium. Winter squash are also a good source of vitamin B6 and niacin.
Studies have shown that due to their carotene properties, winter squash exert a protective effect against many cancers, particularly lung cancer. Diets that are rich in carotenes (especially pumpkins) offer protection against cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown that pumpkin seeds are helpful in reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the lungs are associated with Autumn. In TCM theory, one of the functions of the lungs is to extract Qi from air, using it to nourish the tissues and internal processes. Part of this Qi, along with the Qi from food, goes to build Defensive Qi. This Qi is similar to the Western concept of the immune system. Indeed, because the lungs interact directly with the outside environment, they play a very important role in fighting off external pathogens. The beta-carotenes in winter squash help boost the Qi of the lungs and can help to ward off respiratory conditions like coughs/colds!
So if you didn't have a good reason to eat squash yet this fall, now you do! Please feel free to post recipes!
Doctor Jackie's Blog
A place for me to share my own experiences as an ND & Mom, things I find interesting in the world of wellness & medicine, share recipes, health tips and home/DIY self care ideas. Between 2012 & 2016 I got married, moved twice and had two kids! But I'm back and have SO much to share with you now. Becoming a mom has completely changed my world and my practice. Stay tuned for lots more from me :)