If you're looking for a new vegetable to enjoy, I recommend you try butternut squash. A member of the pumpkin family, it’s known for its creamy texture, nutty flavor and aroma, and mild sweetness. What makes squash great is that it is versatile. You can boil, sauté or, in the case of this recipe, roast it.
This recipe, submitted by my reader Linda Smith, is great for those who love to eat spicy food. It offers great health benefits that you may have been missing out on.
Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- Fresh thyme (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Combine the coconut oil, red pepper flakes, salt, curry powder and thyme. Rub the mixture on the squash.
- Place the sliced squash face up on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until soft. Scoop out the insides of the squash into a bowl and mix.
Note: If you have time, you can peel the squash and cut it into cubes to save time when cooking.
Why Should You Pay Attention to Butternut Squash Anyway?
One of the notable benefits of eating butternut squash is that it may help maintain regular blood pressure levels. A serving of butternut squash contains almost 500 milligrams of potassium, which may help counteract the effects of excessive sodium on your blood pressure. Maintaining normal blood pressure levels helps lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.1
Butternut squash also contains an amazing 457 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A, possibly more than any other vegetable. This is a significant advantage for your health, as vitamin A can help promote good skin, vision and proper functioning of the mucous membranes, and may even lower your risk for lung and mouth cancers.
Another great thing about butternut squash is that it may help with reducing inflammation, thanks to its various antioxidants, like beta-cryptoxanthin. In a study conducted by the University of Manchester, researchers found that those who ate high amounts of beta-cryptoxanthin were only half as likely to develop arthritis over a seven- to 15-year period, compared to those who had a lower intake.2
Red Pepper Flakes Put Some Heat Into This Dish
Red pepper flakes are made by crushing cayenne peppers. In the right amounts, they can add a subtle, warm quality to any dish. Be careful though, as adding too much red pepper flakes can make the dish very spicy, and you won't be able to enjoy it at all.
If you're scared of eating cayenne pepper because of its spiciness, you might want to change your mind. According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, cayenne pepper is one of the best anticancer foods you can eat.3
The compound capsaicin is responsible for cayenne pepper’s cancer-fighting properties, as well as the source of its spicy flavor. In a study published by Cancer Research, capsaicin was found to be helpful in fighting against prostate cancer. The researchers have discovered that capsaicin binds to a cancer cell's membranes, and in high enough doses, the capsaicin pulls the membrane apart, causing the cancer cell to commit suicide.4
Cayenne pepper has also been found to help fight inflammation, reduce headache pain, lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, and assist in weight management. However, be mindful to consume cayenne pepper in moderation, as too much spicy food has been associated with an increased risk for stomach cancer.
Curry: A Blend of Nutritional Spices Loaded With Assorted Health Benefits
Curry, which forms the foundation of many staple dishes in Indian cuisine, usually contains a mixture of different spices. However, it’s perhaps best known for containing turmeric, a spice with an array of health benefits. Most notably, turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, osteoarthritis patients were given 200 milligrams of curcumin a day. After three months, they experienced a notable decrease in pain and increased mobility.
Similar to cayenne pepper, turmeric is also known for its ability to help fight cancer. In one study, researchers noted that turmeric has the ability to inhibit the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells.5 I recommend that you add turmeric to your recipes so you can get the benefits of this amazing anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting spice.
Add Thyme to Give Your Recipe an Aromatic Quality
No roasted recipe is complete without herbs, and thyme works great in this case. It helps add a slightly minty aroma to the dish that smells great once it's done cooking.
Thyme is known for its powerful antibacterial properties that may help fight a variety of common bacteria and fungi, such as Staphylococcus aureus, E.coli and Shigella sonnei. It's also a great complement to coconut oil, as the thymol found in thyme may help increase the presence of healthy fats throughout your cells and omega-3 content in your kidney, heart and brain cell membranes.
Throw in Some Coconut Oil for a Good Dose of Healthy Fats
I've written about the benefits of coconut oil before, and there's no shortage of praise for this amazing product. For one, it's a great source of high-quality healthy fats, most notably lauric acid. In fact, coconut oil contains the highest amount of lauric acid than any other food on Earth.
The benefits of lauric acid kick in once it becomes digested and converted into monolaurin. It's been found that monolaurin may help with fighting ailments such as influenza, measles, protozoa and even HIV and herpes. Coconut oil may also promote heart health and healthy brain function, and may give your immune system a boost.
Despite having only a handful of ingredients, this recipe brings a plethora of health benefits that your body will surely love. If you're not into spicy food, give this recipe a chance. Who knows, maybe you'll like it!
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