Why it’s a superfood?
- High in vitamin A and antioxidants (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin);
- Good source of vitamins B6, C, K, folate, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, potassium and copper.
An article posted in the journal Public Health Nutrition reported that squash extracts reduced symptoms of a common condition affecting older men, benign prostatic hypertrophy. The high content of lutein may also help against dementia associated ageing, as suggested by a 2010 review article in the journal Clinics in Geriatric Medicine.
Making the most of Summer Squash
Most of the nutrients in summer squash hold up well to cooking. Unfortunately, those that do not are the nutrients present in the largest amounts. The high water content and delicate flesh argue for rapid cooking with little or no liquid, such as roasting or sauteing.
The winter months usually means warm and hearty meals are back on the dinner menu. Nothing beats a warm and delicious soup after a long day out battling the elements.
Simple, flavoursome and nutritious, this soup can be made from scratch at home in about 30 minutes. Perfect for those cold winter nights.
Here is a quick 5 ingredient recipe.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 500g x pumpkin;
- 1 x small potato;
- 1 x onion;
- 2 tsp x minced garlic;
- 150ml x bone broth.
Boil the pumpkin and potato and onion until soft. Drain and add all of the ingredients and place into a blender or NutriBullet. Blend for 45-60 seconds. That’s it. You’re done.
Before serving, garnish with parsley, spring onion and / or sour cream.
Nutritional breakdown (153 kcal / per serve)
- Protein: 6.7g
- Fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrate: 27.7g
- Vitamin A: 14,500IU (483% of RDI)
- Vitamin C: 26mg (28%)
- Iron: 2.1mg (26%)
- Magnesium: 51mg (12%)
- Potassium: 1130mg (33%)
Why it’s a superfood?
- High in Vitamins A and C, fiber, manganese, potassium and antioxidants.
As potent antioxidants, carotenoids help prevent diseases in which oxidative damage plays a role, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. A 2009 study reported that women with the highest levels of alpha-carotene, lutein, and beta-cryptoxanthin had as much as a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk.
Making the most of Pumpkins
During boiling, vitamin C seeps into the water, so baking and roasting are preferable. Microwaving in little water is another good option. The carotenoid antioxidants, however, are not lost in cooking liquid.
Canned Pumpkin can be an excellent choice. In fact, the canning process increases the concentration of carotenoids. Add canned pumpkin to soups, stews, or even natural yoghurt.
Picking the best Pumpkin
Deep orange pigmentation is one of the best identifiers of beta-carotene content, and these foods live up to their colourful appearance. All varieties of winter squash contain beta-carotene, though pumpkin and butternut are superior to all other varieties.
The pumpkin is an incredibly nutritious food. It is nutrient dense, meaning it has a lot of vitamins and minerals and relatively low in calories. A real bang-for-buck food.
One cup (mashed, 245g) of pumpkin provides:
- Calories: 49
- Protein: 2g
- Carbohydrate: 12g
- Fibre: 3g
- Vitamin K: 49% of RDI
- Vitamin C: 19% of RDI
- Potassium: 16% of RDI
- Copper, manganese and riboflavin: 11% of RDI
- Vitamin E: 10% of RDI
- Iron: 8% of RDI
- Folate: 6% of RDI
- Niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and thiamin: 5% of RDI
As discussed earlier, Pumpkin is also exceptionally high in beta-carotene, a power anti-oxidant. Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid that converts into Vitamin A within the body.