Butternut squash is plentiful in the fall and full of health benefits. Butternut squash is one of the deep yellow vegetables to be included in a healthy diet (although some consider it a fruit). Find out some of the health benefits of butternut squash and ways to add this vegetable into your diet.
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Butternut squash has no fat or cholesterol, which makes it a good choice for those who must follow special diets. It is a good source of fiber. Fiber is important in a heart-healthy diet and aids digestion.
This winter squash is full of anti-oxidants, especially Vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A is believed to help fight free radicals that enter the body along with other anti-oxidants. According to John Gibb in an article at Health Guidance1, beta carotene helps the eyes, skin and immune system. Beta Carotene also has some anti-inflammatory properties.
Butternut squash also contains Vitamin C, which also helps the immune system. Vitamin C also helps protect cartilage and tendons. Vitamin C is also believed to prevent or shorten the duration of colds, but scientific studies have been contradictory.
Ways to Add Butternut Squash to Your Diet
Butternut squash is extremely versatile when it comes to cooking and adding to other dishes. You may slice it in half, remove the seeds and bake it. Or, you can use a vegetable peeler to peel off the hard skin, then chop to cook in other ways.
If you choose to bake butternut squash, it will need to bake about an hour face down on a cookie sheet to become soft. About 15 minutes before cooking is complete, turn the squash over and fill the cavity with a little butter and brown sugar.
Cubed or diced butternut squash can be added to soups or stews with the other vegetables. For a side dish by itself, you can saute cubed butternut squash with butter and your favorite seasonings. Butternut squash can also be boiled and mashed like potatoes.
Another great idea for butternut squash is to use it to replace the pumpkin in your favorite pumpkin bread recipes. There are times when butternut squash is a less expensive option than pumpkin, and there if little difference in the taste of the bread.
Add the Health Benefits of Butternut Squash to Your Diet
Once you have tried adding butternut squash to your menu, you will see how easy it is. Butternut squash is a flavorful addition to your healthy diet. Try some variety and add butternut squash for its health benefits.