Butternut squash is a winter squash like pumpkin that is delicious in a variety of dishes. But, did you know that there are many health benefits of butternut squash?
If you have never prepared butternut squash, see Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe and watch the video to see how easy it is to cook.
You might also like to try Butternut Squash Pancakes – they are delicious.
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Let’s look quickly at 7 Health Benefits of Butternut Squash. Then, we will look at some specific studies that I have found interesting.
Butternut squash is:
- A great source of vitamins A, C and E, magnesium, and potassium.
- Good for Healthy Eyes – It is one of the best sources of four carotenoids. Carotenoids prevent age-related problems like cataracts and macular degeneration
- Supports the Immune System – Since it is a good source of vitamin A, C, and Beta-carotene, it helps support the immune system and keep you healthy.
- Good for Digestion – High in fiber, butternut squash helps prevent constipation and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract.
- Helps Prevent High Blood Pressure – It is high in potassium which balances and counteracts the sodium in your diet.
- Helps Keeps Bones Strong – Thanks to the high mineral content – manganese (it contains about 17 percent of your RDA of manganese), iron, folate, and zinc – it helps keep your bones strong. The vitamin C helps in the production of collagen and this is also important for building bone mass. These important minerals along with the vitamin C, all contribute to bone health and protect against osteoporosis.
- Decreases Inflammation – Because of it high antioxidant content, it may have ant-inflammatory effects to help decrease symptoms of inflammatory related diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
BBC Good Food recently did a special spotlight of this particular squash, and I’d like to share some of the health benefits of butternut squash they highlighted:
Is butternut squash good for eye health?
Research has shown that certain phytonutrients, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, may help to protect eye health. Butternut squash contains both of these carotenoids. Vitamin A also plays a role in eye health and healthy cell renewal. Diets that are high in fruit and vegetables, including butternut squash, are rich in antioxidants which appear to offer eye protection benefits.
Can butternut squash help to support the immune system?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can go a long way towards supporting your body’s natural defenses, although there’s no guarantee that you won’t succumb to a cold. Beta-carotene, found in butternut squash, helps to support the natural function of the immune system, along with vitamin A which can help to prevent infections…
Is butternut squash good for digestion?
Just 100g of butternut squash contains around 3g of fiber, which is 10% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fiber for adults. According to the NHS, most of us don’t eat enough fiber, getting around just 18g a day. There is strong evidence that fiber is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, bowel cancer and type 2 diabetes. But that it can also help digestion and prevent constipation.
More on the Science Behind Antioxidants
For the science fans, SFGate dove deep into the nitty-gritty of what the vitamins actually mean. As well as an in-depth look at antioxidants. Another great read!
You may think of vitamin A as a single nutrient, but the term refers to two groups of substances: retinoids and carotenoids. Butternut squash is one of the best sources of four carotenoids: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The body converts alpha- and beta-carotene into retinol, which is the form of vitamin A needed for healthy eyes and skin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the retina, where they function as antioxidants and may prevent age-related problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 3,000 international units for men and 2,333 for women. One cup of cubed butternut squash far exceeds both daily values with 14,882 international units.
Go to the Source
I hope I have encouraged you to give this somewhat unconventional vegetable a try. Not only is it delicious, it packs a powerful nutritional punch!
What is your favorite butternut squash recipe?