Squash: This Delicious Winter Veggie Is Jam-Packed With Health Benefits

Theres a lot to get excited about in autumn, from the beautiful trees to the crisp air and fun holidays!

Still, for me, the best part of fall is getting to start cooking some of my favorite cozy recipes again.

Pumpkin bread and butternut squash soup are two of my favorites, and I love any excuse to start cooking with my all-time favorite winter vegetable, the squash.

While some variations are distinctly summery, like zucchini, most gourds are at their peak in autumn, which is a great thing for your cooking repertoire, and an even better thing for your health!

Weve noted before that pumpkin-spice is better for you than you would guess, but it turns out that all members of the squash and gourd family hide some incredible health benefits.

Scroll through the gallery below to learn whats happening to your body every time you whip up that famous family pumpkin pie recipe!

Why Squash?


Squash is a versatile, tasty vegetable that comes into season later than many other tasty veggies.

That means that, while the season for fresh tomatoes or peas might be long past, you’ll be able to get plenty of harvest-ready flavor out of these distinctive and delicious gourds.

Depending on the type of squash and your own tastes, they’re great for soup, casserole, or simply oven roasted.

And they aren’t just tasty; squash are also incredibly good for you and are packed with all sorts of incredible health benefits.

Benefit #1: Promotes Cardiovascular Health


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Squash of every description tend to be very rich in two compounds that are key to good heart health: potassium and fiber.

Eating a diet rich in fiber helps to prevent arterial plaque build up, which is one of the major causes of heart failure.

Meanwhile, according to WebMD, potassium is vital to heart health because it helps to dilate arteries and lower blood pressure naturally.

Benefit #2: Helps Lung Health


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Getting your fill of squash all autumn long can be tremendously beneficial to your lungs, largely because some of the nutrients it contains have been linked to lower rates of emphysema and lung cancer.

Vitamin A is excellent for reducing risk of emphysema, which also helps to improve lung function.

Meanwhile, dietary beta-carotenoids (found especially in yellow and orange squash) have been linked to reduced risk of lung cancer, when eaten in a naturally occurring form like squash.

Benefit #3: Strengthens Bones


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The overall health benefits of squash naturally encourage better bone health, but for more direct bone strengthening, turn away from the orange meat of the vegetable, and take a closer look at the seeds.

Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are very tasty when roasted and eaten as a snack.

Even better, they are packed with magnesium, which is one of the most important vitamins for encouraging strong bones, and works alongside calcium to bolster the skeleton.

Benefit #4: Controls Cramps


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Cramps occur for a huge variety of reasons, from dehydration to menstrual pain.

No matter what’s triggering your muscle spasm, squash might be a helpful cure to keep in mind.

That’s because the potassium in squash is excellent for relaxing muscles and convincing those stubborn charlie horses and back spasms to calm down.

Benefit #5: Fights Cancer Cells


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Beta-carotene, as noted above, can be a hugely beneficial part of your diet, but only when it’s eaten in a natural form like squash or carrots.

Beta-carotene supplements, which are typically isolated in the form of pills,have been linked to higher risk of cancer.

Despite that, when beta-carotene occurs on its own, it’s extremely healthy and is linked to reduced risk of cancer.

The chemistry behind this is not fully understood, but it’s likely that dietary beta-carotene (naturally occurring) works with other vitamins and nutrients in veggies to improve health.

Benefit #6: Battles Diabetes


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Diabetes is one of those illness that cannot be cured, but can definitely be managed and kept under control.

Squash can help as part of a healthy, diabetes-friendly diet, by helping your body to manage and process its sugar intake.

There are lots of B vitamins in squash, which are largely responsible for helping the metabolism break down starches, carbs, and other sugars safely and efficiently.

Benefit #7: Reduces Gallstone Risk


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Most of us don’t pay too much attention to our gallbladders, the small organs that help us to process fat by producing bile, until we have a gallstone or a gallbladder attack, which can be excruciatingly painful.

If you’ve had an attack and want to ward off another, changing your diet is key, and squash can be a huge part of that.

Because it’s rich in both B vitamins and antioxidants, squash is a great go-to food to incorporate into your diet for a gallstone-free life.

Are you surprised by the secret benefits of eating lots of squash? Don’t forget toSHARE this helpful list with friends and family this fall!

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/squash-health-benefits/

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