Winter squash make attractive fall decorations and they have tremendous health benefits. Here are some worthy reasons to add Winter Squash to your diet:
- Winter Squash contain half the calories, are higher in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than potatoes as well as being high in fiber making you feel full after eating them.
- Winter Squash have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating properties.
- Winter Squash are high in antioxidant carotenoids which have the ability to prevent the spread of cancer cells.
- Winter squash contain zeaxanthin and lutein, which are especially good for protecting your vision.
- The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in Winter Squash can reduce the risk of developing arthritis and lung cancer.
- Winter Squash contain thirty-five percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C.
- Winter Squash are high in Potassium which helps reduce blood pressure and is also beneficial for muscle contractions.
There are several varieties of winter squash, so I went to my local grocery store and picked out a few winter squash commonly sold this time of year. Below you will find eight types of winter squash with a corresponding list of unique characteristics for each.
- Spaghetti Squash: Scraping a fork to the inside of a cooked spaghetti squash results in strings that closely resemble noodles. It's a healthy and fun pasta alternative.
- Butternut Squash: Butternut squash have a relatively sweet taste, are low in calories and surprisingly filling.
- Delicata Squash: Delicata squash have a consistency similar to a sweet potato (creamy and soft). For a unique and decorative display, slice width-wise into rings. Toss with melted coconut oil and a tablespoon of maple syrup before baking.
- Sugar Pumpkin: Sugar pumpkins are known for their classic pumpkin flavor and make a delicious replacement for canned pumpkin.
- Acorn Squash: The mildly flavored acorn squash was named for its acorn-like shape. Choose one with a dull green rind. An acorn squash with orange can be tough and fibrous.
- Sweet Dumpling Squash: This small and compact squash is the perfect-size for an individual serving. It tastes very similar to sweet potato and can be used in recipes calling for sweet potato or pumpkin.
- White Pumpkin: White pumpkin has a firmer texture than the orange pumpkin and has a potato-like consistency when cooked. Choose medium pumpkins for cooking. Large white pumpkin squash are often stringy in texture.
- Kabocha Squash: The kabocha (Japanese word for squash) has a nutty, earthy flavor with just a touch of sweetness.