Weekly Health Tip: Winter Squash & Sweet Potatoes

Did yesterday's snowfall get you down? January's health tips, all written by our team of dietitians Jinee, Sara, and Betty along with their students, will feature warming and immune-enhancing foods for cold winter days.


All varieties of winter squash contain a variety of nutrients essential for good health.  Many nutritionists consider the foods particularly warming and nourishing during cold winter weather.  Their characteristic yellow/orange color indicates an abundance of health-supporting carotenoids, including the beta-carotenes (critical to Vitamin A synthesis). These compounds act as antioxidants that counter free radicals that potentially undermine cellular function. Some winter squash are also rich in lutein, which supports healthy heart and prostate function, and winter squash in general are a good source of Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin K, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and some B vitamins (www.NutritionData.com).  All squash are low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

Sweet potatoes come in red and white varieties, the latter with a lighter, creamier taste than the traditional dark orange variety but lower in beta-carotene (the nutrient that confers the yellow/orange color of orange sweet potatoes). Sweet potatoes are fiber-rich, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in Vitamins A and C, and manganese.

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