The Health Benefits of Butternut Squash

Today I wanted to share the health benefits of butternut squash.  I have to admit I don’t eat them that often.  I always seem to forget about them when I’m at the grocery store, or like most people think about them in the fall more than I do in the spring or summer.IMG_20140330_135733_553

I plan on trying to fit them into my meals more often since they do have great health benefits.  If you’ve never tried butternut squash I would encourage you to do so.  Like always I will include recipes at the end.  Give one or all of them a try.

Thanks to healthyeating.sfgate.com for the information below.  I really appreciate it as always and give them all the credit.

Here are the health benefits of butternut squash.

1.  A 1/2-cup serving of cubed, cooked butternut squash contains 3.3 grams of dietary fiber.  This amount supplies approximately 12 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for a healthy adult adhering to a 2,000-calorie diet.  Butternut squash provides both soluble and insoluble fiber, but is especially high in soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber may help decrease the risk of diabetes and high blood cholesterol.  In a 2008 “Today’s Dietitian” article, registered dietitian Sharon Palmer added that consuming high-fiber foods like winter squash may also help prevent heart disease, obesity, cancer, diverticulitis and hemorrhoids.

2.  Cooked butternut squash provides 40 percent of the RDA of vitamin C in each 1/2-cup serving.  Vitamin C is required for the health of the immune system and to synthesize, maintain and repair skin, blood vessels, cellular tissue and bones.  It acts as an antioxidant by inhibiting the ability of free radical compounds to damage DNA.  A diet that includes plenty of vitamin C may prevent heart disease, age-related macular degeneration, osteoarthritis, cancer and hypertension.

3.  Every 1/2 cup of cooked butternut squash contains 11,434 international units of vitamin A, or 260 percent of the RDA of the vitamin.  Vitamin A is essential for eye, skin and immune system health.  It also plays a vital role in the formation of bones and in cellular reproduction and differentiation.  A diet that lacks vitamin A-rich foods like butternut squash may put you at greater risk of developing cancer or eye disorders like cataracts.  Vitamin A is fat soluble, meaning that the amount absorbed in the intestines is higher if foods that contain the vitamin are eaten at the same time as a source of fat.

4.  The American Dietetic Association reports that winter squashes such as butternut squash are one of the richest sources of the carotenoid compound beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is the pigment that is responsible for the deep orange color of butternut squash.  It is a powerful antioxidant that may prevent the free radical damage that can lead to diabetes, infections, heart disease, cancer and degenerative neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can see butternut squash is packed with all kinds of goodness.  Next time you’re at the grocery store you should pick one up, or if you grown your own garden you should plant a couple butternut squash plants.

Here are some recipes using butternut squash.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Fries

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

Turkey Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Zucchini and Spinach

 

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