Gourds of Goodness: Health Benefits of Winter Squash

You admire them, use them for décor, but do you cook with them? Winter squash – pumpkin, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, delicata, and kabocha – offer so much more than a pretty, if slightly misshapen, exterior.

5 reasons why winter squash should be added to your meal plan

1. Carotenoids are plant pigments responsible for the lively colours of many fruits and vegetables, but they also do so much more. According to Live Science, carotenoids provide an antioxidant function of deactivating free radicals, they can be converted by the body into vitamin A, and offer anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits.

2. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that amongst other things, also happens to be a super skin food. Winter is hard enough on the skin so why not give it a boost from the inside as well? On top of being great for the skin, beta-carotene is also high in vitamin A, is an antioxidant, and has been found to slow cognitive decline.

3. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that can also significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks. In fact, a serving of butternut squash has thirty-five percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

4. Fiber is extremely important for overall health. Not only does getting enough fiber cut back on over-indulgence because it keeps you feeling full longer, getting enough helps to regulate you and eliminate toxins and inflammation from the body. It also works to improve the skin. Just a ½ cup serving of squash delivers over 3 grams of fiber!

5. Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that are beneficial to the body. According to the website The World’s Healthiest Foods, an increasing number of studies show that the starch-related components of polysaccharides found in winter squash have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating properties.
We love cooking with butternut and spaghetti squashes and are making an effort to try more recipes with all the other types of winter squash available this year, especially now that we know all of these wonderful health benefits.

Tell us, do you cook or bake with winter squash, and if so, what are your favourite recipes?

Filed under: Naturally Healthy