There’s a reason we’re told to ‘eat the rainbow’, (and I’m not talk talking about eating packs of skittles….) colourful fruit and veg is full of phytonutrients, which reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, reduce risk of illness and disease, slow ageing, and promote health.
One of the key phytonutrients is a group called carotenoids, which includes yellow and orange veg like the squash, pumpkins and carrots in season right now in the UK. Carotenoids help make vitamin A, and as always nature knows we need this vitamin a lot right now.
Two key powerful benefits of carotenoids & vitamin A are that they strengthen the immune system & enhance eye health and vision. As we head into Autumn, this is an important time to focus on immune health, but the immune system also plays a big role in preventing pretty much all illnesses & life-threatening diseases.
Call me crazy, but it also seems reasonable that from a human evolution perspective, we would have needed more foods higher in vitamin A to care for our eyesight as we enter a period of more darkness and less light, as well as a time of year we would have needed good vision to spot mushrooms, berries and other wild foods to forage amongst the fallen autumn leaves.
To get the benefits of these beautiful seasonal nutrients, try this Autumnal squash recipe, and to start living more seasonally, click HERE to read my latest Tune Into Autumn blog for Ekhart Yoga.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 kabocha squash (or 1 butternut squash, or 1 small pumpkin – anything orange!)
- 1 courgette – preferably one that is in season or grown in the UK
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 litre bone broth (or stock)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Optional: orange zest & mixed spice
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil
- Pop the whole squash in the pot and boil for 10 mins to soften
- Safely remove from the pot & once cool enough to handle, chop into cubes
- With the large pot now empty, heat the ghee and sauté the onion, garlic, fennel & cumin for a couple of minutes
- Chop the courgette, then add that and the squash to the pan, stirring to coat in the ghee and spices
- Cook for about 5 minutes, then fill the pot with the broth or stock and bring to a boil
- Once boiled, turn down to a simmer for about 30 mins
- Finally, either keep the soup chunky, or use a hand blender to whizz the soup smooth
- Finally, grate in the zest of 1/4 orange and add a dash of mixed spice (optional)
- Pour into bowls and top with pumpkin seeds, OR roasted squash seeds (recipe below), serve with sourdough and butter.
Roasted Squash Seeds
- Remove the seeds from the squash and wash them to remove any stringy bits of squash.
- Squeeze seeds in a tea towel to dry, then scatter over a baking tray
- Sprinkle over salt and pepper, then bake in the oven for roughly 20 mins at 200C
- Enjoy as they are or use them to top soup and salads.