In a five-week series, The Bulletin will highlight simple “superfoods” that have known properties that help fight cancer and other health concerns. With information provided by Jill Souto-Maior, a registered dietitian from St. Charles Bend, we will tell you about foods you should incorporate into your diet.

Week two: Winter squash

Studies show that eating orange-colored vegetables and fruits daily may help fend off cancer and heart disease while protecting vision, the immune system and skin.

The bright orange and yellow colors of squash signify high beta-carotene content. Beta-carotene can function as an antioxidant and support cell-to-cell communication that controls normal cell growth.

Winter squash is a great source of alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin A, potassium (good for bone health), vitamin B6 (for proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems), folate (protects against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects) and fiber (promotes a healthy gut and protects against colon cancer.)

There are many varieties of winter squash. What is found in stores today evolved from wild squash that grew in Central America. It was originally grown for its seeds, as the original squash was bitter and not like the sweet flesh today’s consumers expect.

— Anne Aurand, The Bulletin