You have probably tried eating some variety of squash, but have you tried butternut squash yet? If you have, you probably agree that this variety of squash is also delicious and oozing with nutritious benefits. The health benefits of butternut squash are something to look out for as well! Keep reading this article to learn more about this amazing vegetable.
Butternut Squash: What is this Vegetable?
Butternut squash has a unique and versatile shape, which makes it easy to identify. Actually, butternut squash is a winter squash, and although it is native to various regions in North America, it is believed to have been cultivated in Massachusetts. The vegetable grows on a creeper, or a wine and has the unique, weird shape of an elongated bell.
Scientifically, butternut squash is known as Cucurbita moschata. It is a cross-breed of the Hubbard squash and the Gooseneck squash and has a yellow or pale brown skin and with a rich orange flesh inside. Its flavor is nutty, which many people have compared to that of a pumpkin.
In the bottommost portion of the so-called bell, you may find its seeds, which are also edible (you just need to roast them, just as with a pumpkin). When the squash gets ripe, the shade of its flesh turns more orange and its sweetness may increase. Make sure you choose a butternut squash with matte skin rather than glossy skin, as glossy skin is an indication that the vegetable was picked too early and will not grow into its potential sweetness.
While butternut squash is actually not widely available throughout the world, it has made its way into various culinary creations in Australia, Europe and South Africa. Still, it is primarily found in the United States.
Nutritional Value of Butternut Squash
Aside from being a warm and comforting element of a meal, people eat butternut squash to benefit from its many nutrients. Some of these nutrients include potassium, folate, protein, zinc, dietary fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A. Furthermore, there also are some key antioxidants in the squash, making it a desirable food for those who want a healthy diet. Let’s take a look at the nutritional facts of butternut squash. Each 100-gram serving contains:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||0.1 grams||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||2 grams||5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.400 milligrams||8%|
|Vitamin A||10630 IU||354%|
|Vitamin C||21 milligrams||35%|
|Vitamin E||1.44 milligrams||10%|
|Vitamin K||1.1 µg||1%|
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Here are some of the most surprising health benefits of butternut squash:
- Helps balancing electrolytes: the body needs sufficient electrolytes in order to regulate the balance of water in between cells, stimulate muscle contraction, modulate blood pressure levels and send nerve impulses. The potassium, magnesium and calcium content of butternut squash all help balance the electrolytes in the body.
- Helps lower cholesterol levels: the high dietary fiber content in butternut squash is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels in the body. Furthermore, the rich level of carotenoid in it is also helps balance cholesterol levels and avert heart diseases.
- Helps boost immunity: there are significant levels of vitamin C in butternut squash, making it essential in giving a boost to the immune system. This is because vitamin C is beneficial in stimulating the production of white blood cells.
- Helps improve blood circulation: the high levels of iron in butternut squash are very important to anyone’s health, because this particular nutrient is necessary for creating red blood cells.
- Helps improve digestion: the dietary fiber in butternut squash may help optimize the digestive processes, as well as relieve problems like bloating and constipation. Furthermore, the dietary fiber may also help bulk up the stool and stimulate peristaltic motion.
- Good for the eyes: obviously, with its rich orange color, butternut squash is oozing with vitamin A. Therefore, it is a good option for enhancing eye health.
- Helps regulate blood pressure: the high amount of potassium in butternut squash helps keep blood pressure at an optimum level.