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  • Rena Alseth

Squash!


Yes, as many of you know, I just love autumn. Along with the crisp weather, low humidity, and absence of mosquitoes comes winter squash!! Note: Did you know that contrary to its name winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the fall? Yet with their thick, tough exterior and firm flesh they are ideal to store for several months well into the winter!

This month I’d like to highlight the butternut squash, though it is one of the most common squash, I’d like to feature it along with a wonderful squash soup recipe to follow! The butternut squash has a delicious sweet flavor and as a bonus, the health benefits of this delightful squash are plentiful!

The vegetable is rich in Vitamin A, Potassium, and Fiber.

Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin, and more.

Potassium is one of the seven essential macrominerals. The human body requires at least 100 milligrams of potassium daily to support key processes. A high potassium intake reduces the risk of overall mortality by 20%. It also decreases the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, protects against loss of muscle mass, preserves bone mineral density, and reduces the formation of kidney stones. The primary functions of potassium in the body include regulating fluid balance and controlling the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles.

A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which include:

  • Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.

  • Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.

  • Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

  • Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Another benefit attributed to dietary fiber is prevention of colorectal cancer. However, the evidence that fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed.

How much fiber do you need?

The Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily fiber recommendations for adults:

Over age 50: Men: 30 grams Women: 21 grams Under age 50 Men: 38 grams Women: 25

Information above was derived from these reputable sites: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284479.php https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

#squash #fall #health

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