What is butternut squash?
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine. Technically, it’s classed as a fruit but it is treated as a vegetable when it comes to cooking. It is quite long and oval in shape with a bell-bottom, with yellow-orange, hard outer skin covering the inner beautiful orange flesh and seeds. Often only the flesh is eaten, while the skin, stalk and seeds are discarded.
Nutritional benefits of butternut squash
The butternut squash is a great source of fibre, as well as vitamins including A, C, E and B vitamins along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Three tablespoons of cooked butternut squash counts as one of your five-a-day.
Take a look at our printable infographic to discover what counts as 5-a-day.
Is butternut squash good for eye health?
Research has shown that certain phytonutrients, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, may help to protect eye health, and butternut squash contains both of these carotenoids. Vitamin A also plays a role in eye health and healthy cell renewal, and diets that are high in fruit and vegetables, including butternut squash, are rich in antioxidants which appear to offer eye protection benefits.
Can butternut squash help to support the immune system?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can go a long way towards supporting your body’s natural defences, although there’s no guarantee that you won’t succumb to a cold. Beta-carotene, found in butternut squash, helps to support the natural function of the immune system, along with vitamin A which can help to prevent infections.
Read more about how to prevent a cold.
Is butternut squash good for bone health?
There is some evidence to suggest that a varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. A 2016 study found that diets high in vegetables, as well as those containing beta-carotene, vitamin C, zinc and sodium were positively associated with healthy bone mass in postmenopausal women. All of these are found in butternut squash making it a bone-loving vegetable to add to your diet.
Is butternut squash good for digestion?
Just 100g of butternut squash contains around 2g of fibre, which is 7% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fibre for adults. According to the NHS, most of us don’t eat enough fibre, getting around just 18g a day. There is strong evidence that fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, bowel cancer and type 2 diabetes, but that it can also help digestion and prevent constipation.
Healthy butternut squash recipes
Quinoa stew with squash, prunes & pomegranate
Butternut squash soup with crispy sage & apple croutons
Butternut squash pilaf
Butternut, chestnut & lentil cake
Red lentil & squash dhal
Dukkah-crusted squash wedges
More healthy pumpkin & squash recipes
This article was reviewed on 6th December 2018 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
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