Butternut squash, also known as butternut pumpkin or gramma, is winter squash that is usually cooked before eaten with the skin or unconsumed, unlike summer squash. It tastes nutty and sweet like a pumpkin. As it ripens, the butternut squash becomes sweeter and richer in taste. Its used as vegetable despite being technically a fruit. This versatile food can be toasted, roasted, puréed, and sautéed into soups, bread, pies, and more. The seeds can be eaten raw or cooked as well as the skin once it softens when cooked.
Butternut squash is loaded with vitamins and minerals that can help lead to longevity. Here are the 7 health benefits of butternut squash.
1. Butternut squash could help improve your blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition where the pressure of the blood in the vessels is higher than it should be. Prolonged high blood pressure could increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Blood vessels dilate and constrict partially based on the potassium to sodium ratio. If a person eats too much salt and not enough potassium, then the blood vessels could constrict making it harder for blood to reach the important areas of the body. Foods high in potassium and low in sodium could help you manage your blood pressure and is recommended by the American Heart Association. The recommended intake for the average adult is 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day. One cup of butternut squash contains 493 milligrams of potassium.
2. Butternut squash could help improve your eyesight.
Butternut squash contains many compounds like vitamin A, alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin that could help improve your eyesight. Lutein and zeaxanthin could directly benefit the retina battle oxidative stress thus preventing macular degeneration and night time blindness.
3. Butternut squash can help promote regularity.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of butternut squash contains 3 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber can add bulk and weight to your stools to decrease your risk of constipation. Also, those with watery stools can help solidify their stools with added fiber in the diet.
4. Butternut squash can help decrease the risk of some birth defects.
Pregnant women need to consume folic acid to reduce the risk of congenital disabilities like neural tube issues and spina bifida in the newborns. One cup of butternut squash contains 10 percent of the daily recommended value.
5. Butternut squash can help improve blood circulation.
Anemia is a medical condition when there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Oxygen binds to iron portion of a special chemical called hemoglobin. Without iron, then oxygen cannot be transported to the body’s cells. Butternut squash is a good source of iron that could help reduce the risk of anemia.
6. Butternut squash could help keep your bones strong.
Manganese is an important mineral that can help your body absorb calcium more efficiently, maintain healthy bone structure, and mineral density. One cup of butternut squash could have 14 percent of your daily recommendation of manganese.
7. Butternut squash can help protect your skin.
Butternut squash is a rich source of vitamin c, an antioxidant vital for skin health. Vitamin C plays a significant role in collagen synthesis and could help prevent or even treat ultraviolet-induced damage. One cup of butternut squash contains more than half the daily recommendation of vitamin C.