Butternut Squash

February 06, 2014

Butternut squash is the most popular winter squash. Pear-shaped with a golden-hued rind, their buttery pulp ranges from yellow to deep orange and is filled with phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants. A single serving -- three-quarters of a cup -- is a mere 66 calories. Thirty-five of the calories are from carbohydrates, 27 calories are from fat and four are from protein. That same serving has 14 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams of fat,  and one gram of protein. Butternut squash contains many important anti-oxidants and vitamins. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, is a rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients and is often recommended by dietitians as part of a healthy program for controlling cholesterol or reducing weight! What other health benefits does butternut squash offer?
  • Vitamin A. Even a small portion of butternut squash offers you more vitamin A than the recommended dietary allowance, making it a great addition to your menu for for eye health and immune function! A large portion of that vitamin A comes in the form beta carotene, the biologically active form of vitamin A. Beta carotene is associated with reduced risk of lung cancer and is also believed to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, UV-induced skin damage and breast cancer.
  • Vitamin C. Butternut squash is considered an excellent source of vitamin C, which aids in healing and is vitally important for gum health. Vitamin C aids the growth and repair of tissues and is necessary for the development of cartilage, scar tissue, ligaments and blood vessels.
  • Fiber. A good source of fiber, butternut squash helps lower cholesterol levels and improves digestion while increasing the feeling of fullness, which can aid in weight management.
  • Potassium. Butternut squash is also a good source of potassium, which helps lower your blood pressure and counteracts the effects of sodium. Considered an electrolyte, potassium is necessary for cellular function.
Don't forget the seeds! They contain nine minerals, 13 vitamins, 18 amino acids and three healthy fats. Roast and add to breads, granola, or your morning oatmeal for a nutty flavor! Whether roasted, steamed or the star of squash soup, butternut squash is a great addition to your winter menu.

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