Butternut squash is the most beloved vegetable around the world due to its versatility and other myriad health benefits, which we are going to discuss here. The squash has a pale brown or a yellow skin with a rich orange flesh inside, along with a nutty flavour.
Butternut squash has made its way into the culinary creations of certain countries. Apart from the ease of preparing butternut squash as a delicious meal, people love this squash for an ample number of nutrients that it offers. These nutrients include a rich concentration of vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fibre, protein, zinc, folate and potassium among many others.
Butternut squash are also packed with key antioxidants, which makes it desirable for those looking for a healthy diet. According to the United States Department Agriculture (USDA), one cup of cooked butternut squash, containing around 205 grams, contains 82 calories, 1.8 grams of protein, 0.18 grams of fat and 21.50 grams of carbohydrates.
A cup of cubed butternut squash also provides 582 milligrams of potassium, which is more than the amount present in a banana.
Let's have a look at the interesting facts on butternut squash.
1. Lowers & Prevents High Blood Pressure
When it comes to heart health, it is important to keep your blood pressure stable. The high levels of potassium found in butternut squash can help in preventing and lowering blood pressure. It is because the potassium acts as a vasodilator that is able to reduce the tension in the blood vessels and arteries, thereby lowering your risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis, stroke and other cardiovascular issues.
2. Good For The Eyes
The orange colour of the butternut squash indicates that the vegetable is rich in vitamin A. This comes due to the fact that butternut squash contains four essential types of carotenoids, which are beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin work directly in the retina to prevent oxidative stress and macular degeneration, whereas beta-carotene and alpha-carotene are converted into retinol, which is the form of vitamin A the body can use.
3. Good For Digestive Health
Butternut squash is an excellent source of dietary fibre that can help optimize the digestive process and relieve health conditions like bloating and constipation. Dietary fibre may also decrease inflammation and improve the immune system, according to noted studies. This means dietary fibre can improve health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
4. Prevents Birth Defects
Butternut squash has important vitamins that are particularly required for pregnant women. High levels of folic acid are needed to prevent birth defects like neural tube issues. The presence of ample amounts of folic acid and other B vitamins in the vegetable ensures that your baby is born healthy and happy. Also, folic acid is great for helping the body produce and maintain new cells. Especially, the red blood cell formation is dependent upon adequate levels of this vitamin.
5. Improves Bone Density
Butternut squash has high concentration of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, manganese and calcium. All of these help with the strength and durability of your bones. As you start ageing and crossing the age of 30 years, adding mineral-rich foods like butternut squash into your diet will counter the natural effects of ageing and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Also, this vegetable is useful for post-menopausal women and older men, both of whom often have brittle bones and are at a higher risk of osteoporosis.
6. Aids In Weight Loss
To maintain a healthy weight, your diet should be full of foods that are packed with nutrients without overwhelming your body with calories. One serving of butternut squash contains just 82 calories, making it a welcome addition to many meals. Butternut squash has low calories and has been very effective in reducing the risk of obesity. This vegetable stops the body from producing new fat cells in the body. Butternut squash having fat-fighting qualities should be a go-to option on your list for weight loss.
7. Helps Prevent & Fight Cancer
The superfoods like blueberries, broccoli and other foods are cancer-fighting foods. Next added in the list is butternut squash, which reduces the risk of cancer and provides your body with nutrients that keep it healthy and are able to fight infection and disease. One type of protein found in butternut squash has been found to inhibit the growth of skin cancer cells (melanoma). Additionally, vitamin C content found in butternut squash may be useful in treating lung and ovarian cancers as well.
8. Boosts Immune System & Inflammation
The beta-carotene contained in butternut squash promotes immune responses and helps you fight illnesses and diseases. Vitamin A content is also responsible for boosting your immune system and has the ability to fight diseases like cancer and autoimmune disorders. It also aids in preventing the common cold and other minor infections. Butternut squash also contains high amounts of vitamin C, which is another common immune system booster.
9. Improves Circulation
The high levels of iron content in butternut squash is required for the creation of red blood cells. Not getting enough iron in your diet, you will likely suffer from anaemia, a condition characterized by weakness, fatigue and cognitive confusion. So, it's very important to have enough of red blood cells in the body to improve blood circulation and oxygenation of the organ systems.
10. Healthy Skin & Hair
Butternut squash can enhance the skin and hair texture due to its high vitamin A content. Vitamin A is required for sebum production, which will keep your hair moisturised. Vitamin A is another essential nutrient that plays an important role in the growth of all bodily tissues, including the hair and skin. One serving of butternut squash provides over 50 percent of the required vitamin C intake for a day and this vitamin helps build and maintain collagen that provides structure to the skin and hair.
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