Butternut, summer, acorn, spaghetti… we’re big fans of squash, no matter the kind. It’s a hearty veggie that can be used in all kinds of recipes. But what about the benefits of squash for your health?
Although squash is a vegetable from the botanical point of view, some consider them fruits since they contain the seeds of the plant. Squash is said to have originated about 7500 years ago in Mexico and Central America, and since that time, we’ve enjoyed them not just for their taste and versatility, but also because of their great health benefits!
Benefits of Squash Varieties
So what’s on your plate? Here are some of the different kinds and the various health benefits of squash.
1. Acorn Squash
Packed with vitamins, minerals like potassium and magnesium, and fiber, acorn squash is low in calories and an ideal low-fat option. It’s especial high in vitamin C and beneficial B vitamins. It is also loaded with antioxidants, like carotenoids, which are known to help prevent and fight certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Our favorite recipe? Roast it with some olive oil and spices, then stuff it with quinoa, goat cheese, and mushrooms.
2. Butternut Squash
Super popular when blended into a soup, butternut squash is low in calories and high in antioxidants. But that’s not all! A single serving of butternut squash packs in 457% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, is high in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and vitamin B-6. It’s a great source of fibre, along with beta-carotene, which helps to support the natural function of the immune system.
Our go-to use? Roast it and blend it with some onions and spices for a delicious hearty soup.
3. Summer Squash
Summer squashes – especially the yellow-skinned varieties -have long been recognized for their richness in carotenoids. But like the others on the list, there’s more to love: it’s also full of vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, and folate. Stop passing over this veg when you grab those zucchinis (since they’re usually beside each either in the produce aisle).
Crispy deliciousness: cut your summer squash into thin rounds and roast with salt and better and parmesan.
4. Spaghetti Squash
If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash, you’re missing out. Forget pasta – you don’t need it where you’re going with this bad boy. But the fact that the insides of this beauty turn into a low-fat, low-call noodle option when roasted isn’t the only thing that makes it great! Spaghetti squash is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, and B-complex vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 and folates.
Better than spaghetti! Roast the squash, pull the threads with a fork, and mix the ‘noodles’ with spaghetti sauce and meatballs.
5. Delicata Squash
Delicata squash is also known as peanut squash, Bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash. And unlike most others on this list, its skin is edible – no peeling or scraping required! Of course, that’s not the only reason it’s awesome. It’s also a good source of potassium and dietary fiber, along with magnesium, manganese, and vitamins C and B.
Simple but delicious and nutritious. Roast your delicata squash with some salt and pepper and add it to pasta, salad, or stuff to with sausage and rice.
6. Kabocha Squash
Also known as Japanese pumpkin, the kabocha squash looks like a small green pumpkin (hence the name). The flavor is similar to butternut squash, but sweeter. Low cal and almost no fat makes it a healthy carb option on your plate. Kabocha squash is an excellent source of vitamin A (it provides almost 300% of your daily value), as well as vitamin C and small amounts of iron, calcium, some B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.
Because of its sweetness, kabocha is great for soup (like butternut) – so blend both the next time you put on a batch. It’s also great just on it’s own with some salt, pepper, and butter, mashed.
The Beautiful Health Benefits of Squash
With such an impressive list of benefits, it’s no surprise that squash really has been able to stand the test of time! Roasted, blended, or mashed, these distinct looking vegetables make it easy to up the nutrition value of a meal without adding in unnecessary calories or fat.
So, stop passing by these beauties on the grocery shelves. Next time you’re shopping, add a few of these varieties to your cart and try something new on the dinner menu! Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.