Autumn is stunning here in Colorado. The leaves on the trees begin to glow a gorgeous orange and yellow. I love how the temperature drops, and I get to dust off my beloved boots.
There’s a pumpkin patch near my house that produces pretty little pumpkins for miles. I love looking at those pumpkins, but I confess I haven’t found my ‘pumpkin gene’ yet. They’re just okay, I don’t crave them. The gourd I long for is butternut squash!
Butternut squash is brimming with beta carotene, which your body automatically converts to vitamin A, unless you have a variant (expressing genetic SNP) in your BCMO1 gene. In that case, you can’t convert the beta carotene to Vitamin A very well, so supplementation with retinol would be helpful or you can become deficient in the valuable vitamin.
The many potential health perks of eating butternut are just crazy amazing. But today I’ll focus on beta cryptoxanthin, a powerful carotenoid—similar to beta carotene—and how it protects DNA.
Butternut squash nutrient could help fight cancer
In fact, beta cryptoxanthin’s DNA-protecting abilities are so powerful that studies suggest it could help fight cancer, especially lung cancer. Researchers in Philadelphia published results from an animal study that found beta cryptoxanthin can “be used as a chemopreventive agent or a chemotherapeutic compound against lung cancer.” The potent nutrient works by flipping a switch on the genes in your body that keep cancer from spreading.
The benefits don’t end there. Beta cryptoxanthin also reportedly has the ability to fight inflammation, even reducing the development of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a University of Manchester study.
A three and a half ounce serving (100 grams) of cooked butternut squash contains about 3,120 mcg of beta cryptoxanthin, and a bowl of boiled carrots contains only 199 mcg.
As for butternut squash, the only thing you have to throw out is the skin. You can actually roast the seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper. The little guys are rich in tryptophan, which converts to the happy neurotransmitter serotonin, and then into sleepy melatonin.
Below is a recipe from my newest e-book called “Eat for the Seasons: 21 Delicious Fall Recipes.” You can download a free copy on my website.
|Savory Butternut Squash Salad|
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
• Salt and pepper
• 2 teaspoons coconut or brown sugar
• ½ cup almond slivers
• ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 6 cups mixed lettuce greens (Romaine, butter, etc.)
• 1 avocado, sliced
• 1 small cucumber, sliced thinly
• ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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