The 5 Benefits Of Winter Squash

The 5 Benefits Of Winter Squash

Winter squash are often viewed through a negative lens, due to them being high in carbohydrates and starchy. This limited view of squash can scare people away form reaping the myriad health benefits, including the healthy carbs that people love to hate. The complex carbohydrates in squash slow the release of sugar inside the digestive tract after consumption. Squash even show up low on the glycemic index (GI) scale.

 

What Are Squash?

Often identified as vegetables, squash are technically fruits that include zucchini, marrows, pumpkins, courgettes, butternuts, kabocha, acorn, and spaghetti varieties. People have simplified the many types of squash by categorizing them into summer and winter varieties. Squash may be one of the largest food groups cultivated on earth, with archaeological evidence suggesting that squash were grown over 10,000 years ago. They are very versatile for culinary applications and contain a diverse mix of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and organic compounds. Let’s explore some of their most notable benefits below.

 

Anti-Inflammatory:

Inflammation is not solely reserved for arthritis or gout patients; rather, it can occur anywhere in the body and cause a variety of symptoms. The carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin), omega-3 fatty acids, and polysaccharides called homogalacturonan in winter squash have demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity. Preliminary studies show that winter squash may reduce gastric inflammation, including ulcer reduction.

 

Ultimate Nutrient Support:

Now you can enjoy winter squash for more than the delicious flavors! Winter squash are vitamin superstars, being some of the richest plant-based sources of B vitamins. They are also rich in vitamins A, C, E (from the seeds), K, and an array of carotenoids. As far as the mineral content goes, most winter squash are great sources of iron, zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, and small amounts of calcium. All of these macronutrients, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals provide comprehensive nutrient support.

 

Heart Health:

Due to the magnesium and potassium content, winter squash provide defense against cardiovascular problems. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes tense blood vessels and arteries, which ultimately helps to increase blood flow. This process makes it easier for oxygen to travel to various organs and it reduces stress on the heart. The pectin and fiber content of winter squash also help to scrape built-up cholesterol from arterial walls, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.

 

Healthy Vision:

The average serving of winter squash typically contains over 400% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. This is attributed to the high amount of beta-carotene, which is an enzyme to form vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene is necessary for healthy vision, and higher levels of this carotenoid has been associated with reduced risk of glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other vision complications.

 

Bone Health:

If you want to make your bones stronger, it’s time to fill up on winter squash. The high vitamin and mineral content in winter squash helps develop bone matter and bone density. According to a study conducted by Michigan State University, the zinc, manganese, calcium, and other trace minerals in winter squash can reduce the risk of osteoporosis as you age, and make your bones more durable overall.

 

Now that you have all of this information about squash, you need to know how to incorporate it into your diet. Experiment with different squash and find which ones you like the best. Here are some of our favorites to start you off.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash And Carrot Soup:

roasted-butternut-squash-soup

Fall is just around the corner, which means that there are new produce items to cook with! Try one of our fall favorites: butternut squash!

Click here to make the recipe.

 

Baked Spaghetti Squash (Vegan + Keto):

baked-spaghetti-squash

Replace those unhealthy carbs from enriched, processed pasta with the essential nutrients in spaghetti squash! Make this your next dinner.

Click here to make the recipe.

 

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash:

baked-butternut-squash-cubes

Take advantage of butternut squash while they are still in season! Bake this simple butternut recipe to enjoy the classic flavors of fall.

Click here to make the recipe.

 

Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash:

acorn-squash-stuffed

Filled with the spices and ingredients of fall, these stuffed acorn squash are the perfect fall entree.

Click here to make the recipe.

 

Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce With Pasta And Greens:

butternut-arugula-pasta

While this recipe requires some extra effort, you won’t regret it once you take that first bite. It’s smoky and sweet with a hint of spice.

Click here to make the recipe.

 

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/squash.html

2019-10-21T09:50:06-07:00