Butternut squash is one of the healthiest vegetables for losing weight with its low calories and high levels of dietary fiber. There’s around 6 grams of primarily insoluble fiber in a cup of steamed squash and eating them is known to be especially beneficial for relieving digestive problems such as constipation. In spite of their rich and buttery taste, butternut squash is very low in calories. They’re only around 75 calories in one cup, which makes them one of the ‘negative calorie’ foods considered so good for weight loss.
Antioxidant carotenoids are protective against cancer and arthritis
Butternut squash is loaded with antioxidant carotenoids to protect your body’s cells from damaging free radicals. You’ve probably heard of beta-carotene before and, like many bright orange vegetables, butternut squash is a great source of it. But most people wouldn’t know that it is also one of the highest food sources of beta-cryptoxanthin and alpha carotene. And these lesser-known carotenoids may well have stronger antioxidant potential.
Research has show alpha carotene to have significantly better anti-carcinogenesis activity (the ability to prevent the spread of cancer cells) than the more well-known beta-carotene.
Beta-cryptoxanthin research suggests a regular intake can reduce your risk of developing arthritis and lung cancer. A study by the University of Manchester, with more than 25,000 people, found that those with the highest intake of beta-cryptoxanthin in the diet were only half as likely to develop arthritis over a 7 to 15 year period as those with a lower intake.
Another pooled analysis study published in Cancer Epidermiology Biomarkers and Prevention analyzed nearly 400,000 people for up to 16 years. It found that a high intake of beta-cryptoxanthin reduce the risk of lung cancer by more than 30%.
Butternut squash nutrition is also a great source of two other powerful antioxidants known as zeaxanthin and lutein, which are especially good for protecting your vision.
Your body concentrates these two carotenoids in the macular region of your eyes where they protect your vision from damaging UV and blue light radiation. The more zeaxanthin and lutein you have in your diet, the lower your chance of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, leading to blindness later in life. In the shorter term, the symptoms of poor dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin include eyestrain, dry eyes, inability to make out fine details and deteriorating vision. If your eyesight is important to you, many people notice a real improvement in their vision when they take a good lutein and zeaxanthin supplement. These should always be taken with a meal containing healthy fats for maximum absorption.
Butternut squash is yet another great supply of potassium, which will help decrease your blood pressure level. Potassium counteracts the results of sodium, therefore consuming more potassium will help you decrease your blood pressure level in case the sodium in your daily diet is simply too higher. Keeping the blood pressure level in the excellent range assists decrease your chance for cardiovascular disease.
Butternut squash is also loaded with vitamin C. This antioxidant vitamin lowers your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, eye problems, cancer and the common cold, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. The recommended intake is 90 milligrams a day for an adult male and 75 milligrams for females. Just 1 cup of baked butternut squash contains 31 milligrams of vitamin C, which is more than a third of the RDI. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it is not stored by your body and you need to replace it daily.
Omega-3 fatty acids have amazing anti-inflammatory properties; omega-3 fatty acids are also important for brain cells because omega-3s provide energy and make up membranes of the cells. No surprise that healthier and happier brain cells means better brain development and function, including memory. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids can improve insulin sensitivity and make our bodies better at using stored body fat for energy, which both add up to a leaner physique.
Minerals are as essential to good health as vitamins, and butternut squash is an excellent source of several of them. A 1-cup serving of baked squash gives you more than 10% of the RDI of potassium, magnesium and manganese. The Texas Heart Institute reports that potassium regulates nerve impulses, muscle contraction and keeps your heart beating strong and steady. Magnesium is involved in every major body process, from sugar metabolism to protein production. Adequate intake of manganese is reported by the Linus Pauling Institute to build and maintain strong bones, aid in metabolism and facilitate wound healing; it may help prevent diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis and epilepsy.
Here's an idea to take advantage of the benefits of butternut squash...