Winter squash, like pumpkin, butternut and kabocha, owe their vivid orange flesh to beta carotene, a phytochemical our bodies convert to vitamin A that can support eye health and the immune system. Winter squash is also a good source of fiber with less than 100 calories per serving,(1) so it can help fill you up and promote weight management.
Don’t forget their seeds! They provide protein, iron and zinc and are high in magnesium. Magnesium can be depleted from your body when you’re stressed, so squash seeds can be a tasty way to replenish the mineral.
Here’s a trick to making the most of squash seeds: Don’t remove the pulpy bits from the seeds – they’ll caramelize while cooking. Toss 2 cups of seeds and pulp with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, spread them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in a 300° F oven for about 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
1. USDA Food Composition Databases, https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods