Q: Is there much nutritional value in winter squash?
A: Think antioxidants and more!
If I asked you to name a food rich in antioxidants, I bet you wouldn’t think to mention winter squash. Usually, green leafy vegetables get all the credit for providing the bulk of antioxidants in your diet, and most people are surprised to find out that winter squash happens to be an excellent source. Most people think of winter squash as a nutritionally void “starchy” vegetable and are shocked to find out how much this winter vegetable has to offer. From the well-known Butternut and Spaghetti squash to the more unusual Kabocha and Hubbard squash, these vegetables are harvested in the fall, when they are hard and ripe and most can be stored and enjoyed throughout the winter.
Winter squash is naturally low in fat. What little fat the squash has comes from anti-inflammatory omega-3s fatty acids. One cup of baked winter squash will provide you with approximately 340 milligrams of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Winter squash is also a good source of fiber, providing 3 grams per ½ cup serving. Winter squash supplies a substantial amount of potassium and vitamin C which keeps bones healthy, muscles pumping, blood pressure in check, and your immune system healthy. Winter squash also provides 10% of your daily allowance for folic acid which is also beneficial for heart health.
The deep orange color of squash indicates one of the most noteworthy health benefits–carotenoids, which protect against heart disease and cancer. One of the most abundant carotenoids found in squash is beta-carotene (Vitamin A). Providing 163% of the Daily Recommended intake. Cancer can’t grow if it’s not allowed to oxidize. Beta-carotene, which is the key antioxidant in winter squash, protects the cell from harmful oxidation, https://holisticdental.org/xanax-treat-anxiety/.
Quick tip for buying winter squash: choose squash that is unblemished and feels heavy for its size. Pick a squash with matte skin rather than glossy. A shiny exterior indicates it was picked too early, and won’t be as sweet as a fully grown squash. Most winter squash is available late into the fall. Store whole butternut squash in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) with plenty of ventilation; it should keep for up to three months. Cut squash will stay fresh for up to a week, wrapped, in the fridge. See 11 Varieties of Winter Squash.
Nutrition Breakdown Per 1 cup cooked, approximately 205 grams
Calories: 82 kcal
Fat: 0.2 g
Vitamin A: 1,144 mcg = 163 percent of DRI
Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg = 20 percent of DRI
Vitamin C: 31 mg = 41 percent of DRI
Folate: 39 mcg = 10 percent of DRI
Potassium: 582 mg = 12 percent of DRI