A powerhouse of nutrients, butternut squash comes with a long list of vitamins and minerals that make it one of the healthiest among its kinds. Butternut squash, scientifically known as Cucurbita morschata, features its distinct long and thick neck features with a pear shaped bottom. Its flesh may vary from being golden-yellow to orange. They are cultivated under warmer climates in different regions around the world.
Butternut squash are generally sweet making them great addition to salads, casserole, stew, and pies. They are even roasted for healthy snack options.
Among the nutritional benefits of butternut squash, it is most highly regarded for its impressive vitamin A content. The Cucurbitaceae family is a great source of vitamin A, however the content of butternut squash is seen as the highest. It serves 354% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A per 100-gram serving. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyesight, which is the reason why infants or children are encouraged to eat food high in vitamin A. Vitamin A is also a natural antioxidant that helps fight harmful oxygen-free radicals that damage the cells.
Aside from vitamin A, the power of butternut squash to hold a pool of antioxidant is heightened by the quantity of phytonutrients it contains including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein zeaxanthin. They perform the same function as vitamin A as they are converted into the latter once inside the body.
It also supplies the body with significant amount of vitamin C (35% DRV), vitamin E (10% DRV), vitamin K and B vitamins.
This vegetable is low in sodium and high in potassium, which makes it a great food for a healthy and normal blood pressure level. Potassium is also seen as important to maintain acid-base balance in the body.
A good source of energy, butternut squash has only 45 calories for every 100 gram serving. The majority or huge chunk of its calorie content comes from carbohydrates with 11.69g or 9% of its daily recommended value. It has no cholesterol and almost no fat. Plus, it gives the body 2g or 5% of the daily recommended value of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is helpful for digestion and aids weight loss.
Moreover, butternut squash is filled with lots of minerals that ensure optimum performance of the body. These minerals include iron and magnesium (9% DRV), copper (8% DRV), and phosphorus and calcium (5% DRV).
The Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Normalize Blood Pressure
The key to a low and normal blood pressure is to engage in a diet that is rich in potassium at the same time low in sodium. One very helpful benefit of butternut squash consumption is that it has blood pressure lowering effects. Eating this fruit on a regular basis will surely help in preventing high blood pressure. It is important to avoid high blood pressure at all times because if blood pressure is high, risk to heart failure and malfunction is increased. High blood pressure encourages irregularities in the body that lead to serious sickness. In fact, studies proved that intake of foods rich in potassium will lower risks of dying of any cause up to 20%.
Thwarts Off Asthma
Butternut squash is a very excellent source of beta-carotene. This mineral is a powerful antioxidant that lowers risks of developing respiratory issues such as asthma. Studies found that those who consume high beta-carotene food sources are less likely to have asthma. If you are asthmatic, it is highly recommended to increase butternut squash consumption. Together with butternut squash, fruits and vegetables such as papaya, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots and apricots are all-together very good sources of beta-carotene.
Helps Prevent Cancer
Butternut squash is concentrated with antioxidants that help in reducing risks of cancer. Antioxidants play an important role in keeping the body healthy in general. First and foremost, presence of powerful and effective antioxidants like those contained in butternut squash assures that the cells are healthy and repaired when needed. When the self-repair ability of the body is impaired, the tendency is for them to die and for the cancer cells to proliferate. Butternut squash contains manganese, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C that all-together work for the maintenance of healthy cells. The manganese content assures that the cellular structure of the cells is protected. Vitamin E ascertains that water and oil keeps separated so that fat-soluble substances in the body are kept away. Lastly, Vitamin C ensures that fluid is properly circulated throughout the body thus eliminating free radical formation. This significantly thwarts off risks of cancer.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Butternut squash is abundant in fiber that results in prevention of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Fiber helps in breaking down of sugar and starch from food intake. Fibrous foods are of significant help in fat metabolism so that high amounts of sugar is not housed and stocked in the blood. Another good thing with this fruit is that it is a great source of fiber that consuming a 50-gram serving is more than enough to meet the daily fiber demand of the body. If you are a diabetic or highly exposed to such due to family’s medical history, make sure you eat a lot of butternut squash to alleviate your condition.
Nourishes the Skin
This fruit contains Vitamin E, vitamin A, and Vitamin C that all have significant role in maintaining the health of skin. Even though there are a lot of skin care products being sold in the market today, it is very important to keep the skin healthy on a cellular level so that it transcends to what meets the eye. Health experts say that a healthy skin from the inside results to a glowing, youthful, and attractive skin. The vitamin A content of this fruit supports the body tissue growth and maintenance. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production that keeps the skin firm and flexible. Vitamin E assures that the skin cells are healthy and repaired when needed. If you want to have a beautiful and nourished skin even as you grow old, adding butternut squash in your diet will be of great significance.
Promotes Proper Digestion
As mentioned above, this fruit contains remarkable amounts of fiber. Fiber ensures that breakdown of food and absorption of nutrients is proper and efficient. Intake of fibrous foods also clears the digestive tract so that food intake is moved through the digestive process smoothly. Fiber also bulks up stool to regulate bowel movement and bowel activities. This will avoid indigestion and other digestive issues such as constipation. Research concluded that high fiber consumption can also reduce risks of colon cancer.
Establishes Strong Immune System
Because butternut squash possesses powerful and effective antioxidants, it is able to help materially in establishing a strong defense against infection and related illnesses. Health is generally optimized with regular consumption of this fruit because of its immune system boosting effects. This will protect the body from easily getting sick especially from common sicknesses like flu, cold, coughs, and others more.