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Health from the Harvest
Pumpkin is a Prime Harvest Pick
Pumpkin is sweet in flavor and packed with vital essential nutrients for good health. Pumpkin contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), pantothenic acid, fiber, folate and small amounts of lipids and amino acids. It also contains phytochemicals. Pumpkin seeds contain a rich source of protein, vitamin E, iron and vitamin B6. The rich nutrient content in pumpkin helps to protect the body against cancers, cataracts, infection, and heart disease and helps to support healthy blood pressure and proper fluid balance.
Choose a pumpkin with a rich orange color and that are free of any blemishes and soft spots. Pumpkin can be stored in a cool dry place for up to a month or it can be refrigerated, keeping in mind that this speeds the ripening process. Pumpkin can be steamed, cooked and baked. It makes for a great side dish, in a salad, soup, vegetable mix and pie!
The Many Wonders of Winter Squash
Winter Squash (acorn, banana, butternut, spaghetti) comes in a range of colors and shapes, each providing a different flavor and texture. It has the ability to grow large and the longer it remains on the vines the sweeter it becomes. Winter squash provides essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), small amounts of lipids and amino acids and a rich source of the phytochemicals alpha-carotene, beta carotene and lutein.
Consuming winter squash a few times a week can help reduce the risk cataracts and help maintain healthy eyesight. It can also help reduce the risk of lung cancer especially for smokers and for those who are exposed to secondhand smoke. The rich nutritional content found in winter squash can help to protect the body from infections, cancer, stroke, heart disease and helps to maintain a healthy fluid electrolyte balance.
Pick a winter squash that is somewhat heavy, smooth and free of any blemishes or cuts. It does not require refrigeration and can be kept up to 3 months in a cool and dry place. Winter squash can be steamed, baked and cooked. It can be used as a side or main dish, in a salad, soup and/or along with other vegetables!
Grain-Free Pesto Pasta
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
3 tablespoons coconut oil, (olive oil or grapeseed oil) divided
1 onion, sliced
2 cups fresh baby kale
4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 fresh clove garlic, diced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 tablespoons prepared pesto
½ cup pine nuts (almonds or cashews)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet. Place squash skin side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; cool for 10 minutes. Once squash is cool enough to handle, scrape flesh into string-like strands with a fork. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion and garlic begins to turn slightly translucent. Stir in kale and mushrooms; reduce heat to medium low.
Stir in squash, remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil, sea salt and red pepper flakes; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from stove and place squash mixture in a large bowl. Stir pesto into the squash mixture and then add the pine nuts.
Aylin Yousef, MDN, CNP, ROHP, RNCP is a registered nutritionist.
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