Farmer’s markets are bursting with colorful tables full of winter squash, just in time for Thanksgiving. Squash is a versatile and affordable vegetable that can be steamed, roasted, or added to soups, stews and even pizza.
Squash is a nutritional powerhouse and has a wide range of health benefits. Here are the top 5 reasons you should eat squash.
1. Packed with Nutrients
Winter Squash is popular for its high levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which gives squash its bright orange color. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that helps protect against aging, prevents cancer and heart disease, and promotes healthy skin, vision, and immune function. The best way to maximize the nutritional absorption is by eating squash with some healthy fat, such as olive or avocado oil, because beta-carotene and the other carotenoids in squash are fat soluble.
A one-cup serving of winter squash has about 4 times the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. It also has significant vitamin C, E, B6, niacin, thiamin and folate, and is a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, calcium and iron. Squash is also a good plant-based source of omega-3 oil.
2. Strong Bones
Squash is rich in vitamin A, zinc, calcium and manganese, which all play an important role in the development and maintenance of bone matter and bone mineral density. A diet rich in these vitamins and minerals can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and slow the development of osteoarthritis.