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7 Surprising Ways Butternut Squash Can Improve Your Health


If ‘A’ stands for Apple in the English alphabet chart, it would stand for Butternut squash in the vitamins chart. Winter squash or butternut squash is a rich source copious amounts of vitamin A and is hence synonymous with it.

True to its name, this vegetable has a buttery and creamy texture when cooked right. This is why it is used to make soups, creams, sauces, dressings, and desserts.

Eager to know what else this versatile squash has to offer? And how to get the best out of it? Scroll down to get started!

Table Of Contents

 

Butternut Squash In Brief

Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) belongs to the family of gourds and melons (Cucurbitaceae) and is native to the Americas. This squash is grown in summer – contrary to its name – and harvested in fall.

It has a unique hourglass shape with a tough peel that looks bright in shades of yellow, orange, and brown. Because of the tough skin, the butternut squash has a longer shelf life. So, you can enjoy this summer-grown squash in the winters too!

The pulp of the butternut squash is soft, yet fibrous. When fresh, the pulp is sweet, juicy, creamy (when cooked), and rich in carotenoids, vitamin A, folate, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium.

The broader bottom part of the squash nests the seeds. You can either cook them or roast them like pumpkin seeds and add them to salads or soups for some crunch.

Adding baked or cooked squash to your meals every day does more than just boost your vitamin A levels. Want to know more? Keep reading!

Benefits Of Butternut Squash

  1. Cures Constipation In Children And Adults

As if exams don’t cause enough stress, constipation adds to some children’s worries. The poor kids just cannot bear the pain and the cramps.

If your kids are among them, give them butternut squash, which is high in dietary fiber. You can give them fritters made of butternut squash or pumpkin.

Older people face the same problem. Having high fiber foods like butternut squash can mobilize the stools in your large intestine.

This way, the bowels don’t dry up, preventing constipation, encopresis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and stomach cramps in children and adults (1).

  1. Regulates Cholesterol Levels

Butternut squash is rich in omega fatty acids and low in calories (13 per ounce). It is also low in sodium and saturated fats.

This squash is also high in fiber, vitamin E, ⍺-carotene, and ß-carotene – which are potent antioxidants.

These elements scavenge free radicals and prevent lipid peroxidation and cholesterol accumulation in various parts of your body, especially the blood vessels.

  1. Helps People With Diabetes

The first question that might have popped in some of your minds must be, “Is it fine to eat butternut squash if you have diabetes?” The answer here is yes, but in moderation.

Winter squash is high in starch, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and essential fats. But it has a glycemic index of 51. Having this squash is way better than binging on potatoes, especially for those with diabetes.

This versatile squash also has high levels of carotenoids and carotenes that scavenge free radicals like peroxides and hydroxyl ions that cause inflammation of organs. Hence, it can effectively manage type 2 diabetes and low glucose tolerance.

  1. Has An Anti-inflammatory Effect

⍺-carotene, ß-carotene, and vitamins A and C do the magic again! These compounds work as antagonists to pro-inflammatory compounds like prostaglandins, histamines, and interleukins and promote immunity.

Butternut squash – along with pumpkins, bananas, summer squash, sweet potatoes, onions, avocados, carrots, yogurt, and other soft and starchy foods – is given to people suffering from acute inflammation (2), (3).

Consuming this vegetable will reduce the incidence of inflammatory diseases like arthritis, asthma, GERD, leaky gut, IBS, and Crohn’s disease.

  1. Strengthens Your Bones

A 100 g serving of butternut squash has 3.5 mg of ß-kryptoxanthin. This abundant carotenoid is responsible for strengthening your bones.

ß-kryptoxanthin stimulates the gene expression of proteins involved in bone formation and mineralization in osteoblasts (bone cells). Moderate levels of this carotenoid can increase calcium and protein content in the bone cells while inhibiting bone resorption and osteoporosis.

Hence, including this squash in your diet, especially if you fall in the post-menopausal bracket, will boost your bone health and keep arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, and other bone diseases at bay (4).

  1. Fights Cancer

ß-kryptoxanthin appears to affect genetic regulation, antioxidant, and inflammatory markers in laboratory studies.

α-carotene is another phytochemical that has protective effects against cancer. Along with ß-carotene and other antioxidants, it fights cancers of various organs like the stomach, lung, breast, liver, and colorectum.

Although α-carotene has higher anticancer potential, the carotenoids and vitamins A and E present in winter squash help prevent and treat cancers, predominantly in women (4).

  1. Improves Vision And Eyesight

Butternut squash is synonymous with vitamin A. The carotenoids, particularly ß-carotene, ß-kryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin present in this squash convert into vitamin A (retinol).

Retinol and retinal are the compounds responsible for absorbing ‘visible’ light. There are specific genes in your body that carry out the conversion of carotenoids into these light-sensing phytochemicals (5).

Half a cup (85 g) of cooked winter squash has 3.9 mg of ß-carotene. And considering the fact that there is no set recommended upper adequacy limit, you can add it liberally to your cooking (6).

 

Did You Know?

  • 1 ounce of winter squash has about 3000 IU of vitamin A! Apart from improving vision and preventing eye diseases, vitamin A boostsyour immunity and assists in embryonic development.
  • It is also essential for the development oflearning and memory in the adult brain.

 

 

It is unbelievable that a vegetable that you took for granted is capable of giving you a whole new life. Don’t believe me?

Take a look at its nutritional profile.

NUTRITION FACTS SERVING SIZE 1 OUNCE 28G

AMOUNT PER SERVING

Calories 13

Calories from Fat 0

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0 g

0%

Trans Fat

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 1mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 3g

1%

Dietary Fiber 1g

2%

Sugars 1g

Protien 0g

Vitamin A

60%

Vitamin C

10%

Calcium

1%

Iron

1%

CALORIE INFORMATION

Amounts Per Selected Serving

%DV

Calories

63.0(264 kJ)

3%

From Carbohydrate

58.4(245 kJ)

From Fat

1.2(5.0 kJ)

From Protein

3.4(14.2 kJ)

From Alcohol

0.0(0.0 kJ)

CARBOHYDRATES

Amounts Per Selected Serving

%DV

Total Carbohydrate

16.4 g

5%

Dietary Fiber

2.8 g

11%

Starch

~

Sugars

3.1 g

FATS & FATTY ACIDS

Amounts Per Selected Serving

%DV

Total Fat

0.1 g

0%

Saturated Fat

0.0 g

0%

Monounsaturated Fat

0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

0.1 g

Total trans fatty acids

~

Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids

~

Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids

~

Total Omega-3 fatty acids

36.4 mg

Total Omega-6 fatty acids

22.4 mg

PROTEIN & AMINO ACIDS

Amounts Per Selected Serving

%DV

Protein

1.4 g

3%

VITAMINS

Amounts Per Selected Serving

%DV

Vitamin A

14883 IU

298%

Vitamin C

29.4 mg

49%

Vitamin D

~

~

Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)

2.0 mg

10%

Vitamin K

1.5 mcg

2%

Thiamin

0.1 mg

9%

Riboflavin

0.0 mg

2%

Niacin

1.7 mg

8%

Vitamin B6

0.2 mg

11%

Folate

37.8 mcg

9%

Vitamin B12

0.0 mcg

0%

Pantothenic Acid

0.6 mg

6%

Choline

~

Betaine

~

MINERALS

Amounts Per Selected Serving

%DV

Calcium

67.2 mg

7%

Iron

1.0 mg

5%

Magnesium

47.6 mg

12%

Phosphorus

46.2 mg

5%

Potassium

493 mg

14%

Sodium

5.6 mg

0%

Zinc

0.2 mg

1%

Copper

0.1 mg

5%

Manganese

0.3 mg

14%

Selenium

0.7 mcg

1%

Fluoride

~

 

Numbers did the magic. Reality hit me hard! And that’s when I decided to take some serious steps to add butternut squash to my meals.

Guess what? The result was mind-blowing!

 

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