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When it is roasted, butternut squash becomes tender and sweet. Try this recipe for an irresistibly simple, healthy and delicious side for a mid-fall or holiday dinner.

5 pounds butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Toss squash with 4 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet.
4. Roast in oven, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender throughout and lightly browned).
5. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil olive in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pine nuts, stirring gently until fragrant but not brown (30 seconds to 1 minute).
6. Toss the roasted squash with the garlic, pine nuts and parsley.
7. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

1. Butternut squash contains soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to digested food, which helps it travel through the digestive tract and prevents constipation. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of carbohydrates, which prevents large spikes in blood sugar after you eat. Soluble fiber also helps lower cholesterol by binding with it and carrying it out of your body. One cup of cubed butternut squash has 3 grams of fiber (8% of the recommended daily intake for men and 12 % for women).

2. Butternut squash delivers three important electrolytes: potassium, magnesium and calcium. Just one cup of cubed butternut squash has 10% of the recommended daily intake of potassium, 11% of magnesium and 7% of calcium. Electrolytes stimulate muscle contraction and nerve impulses, as well as control the movement of fluids in and out of cells to ensure your body maintains the appropriate balance. Potassium initiates the electrical impulses that regulate your heartbeat and works with sodium to stimulate muscle contraction. Magnesium and calcium work opposite each other; magnesium relaxes cardiovascular muscles, while calcium stimulates their contraction.

3. Butternut squash is one of the best sources of four carotenoids: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The body converts alpha- and beta-carotene into retinol, which is the form of vitamin A needed for healthy eyes and skin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the retina, where they function as antioxidants and may prevent age-related problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 3,000 international units for men and 2,333 for women. One cup of cubed butternut squash far exceeds both daily values with 14,882 international units.

1. The protein and magnesium in pine nuts makes them an excellent source of energy.

2. They contain heart-friendly monounsaturated fat. They also contain high amounts of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, iron and manganese, which are all known to contribute to cardiovascular health.

3. They are rich in Vitamin C, and help boost immunity.

4. Pine nuts are a healthy source of iron, aiding the circulatory and nervous system. Interestingly. the copper that is naturally present in pine nuts also aids in the absorption of iron by our body.

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