Winter squash are a great source of carotenoids and butternut squash is right at the top. This gorgeous, brightly colored orange squash is loaded with nutrients to repair our skin and keep it beautiful. Studies show that people with higher levels of antioxidants have less premature skin aging, with less deep furrows and wrinkles than those with low antioxidant levels.

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Instead of slathering butter, maple syrup and aging fats and sugars on top of butternut squash, pair it with fresh ginger, garlic and spinach for a fabulous culinary dish filled with even more nutrients. The sweetness of the squash is matched with a heavenly infusion of inflammation-fighting ginger, immune-boosting garlic and nutrient-rich spinach.

Less Fat and Calories, More Nutrients:
This dish is low in calories and high in good-for-you nutrients. One cup of plain cooked squash is only 80 calories and contains 5 grams of fiber, which can help with weight loss, as well as about 340 milligrams of anti-aging omega-3 fats. Spinach is loaded with iron, calcium, potassium, folate, beta-carotene and vitamins K, C, E, as well as lutein.

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Wilted Spinach with Garlic, Ginger and Butternut Squash:
Makes 6 Servings – Serving Size: ½ cup

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided into 2 teaspoons, 4 teaspoons2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and small diced (about 1 ½-lbs squash)½ teaspoon salt½ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground8 cups spinach, stems removed, firm packed (about 2 bunches)2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

Procedure: In 6-quart pot, heat 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, then add butternut squash and season with half of the salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes or until soft, remove from pan and set aside. Using a low flame, heat remaining oil, add garlic and ginger, cook until garlic and ginger become aromatic (about one minute), then add spinach, stirring to coat with the oil, ginger and garlic. Season with remaining salt and pepper and sauté while stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until wilted. Then add squash, mix together, cook until squash is heated and serve. Enjoy the bounties of autumn with the fabulous choices of skin-smoothing winter squash.

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