What is the Healthiest Squash?

Who doesn’t love squash? Whether roasted or mashed, grilled or steamed, squash is delicious. I haven’t met a squash I don’t love. While there are many varieties, some of the most popular include: acorn, butternut, hubbard, and spaghetti squash, all of which are known as winter squashes. Zucchini is a type of summer squash. While all squashes deliver when it comes to nutrition, which one is best?

Winter squashes tend to be higher in nutrients. Their yellow to orange color showcases their beta carotene content, a precursor to vitamin A, which is critical to a strong immune system and healthy skin. Winter squashes are also good sources of magnesium and potassium, both of which are known as electrolytes and help to ensure healthy blood pressure. Squash also contains plentiful amounts of vitamin C, folate, and calcium. (It also makes my list of “Top 13 Skin-Cleansing Superfoods” in my book Weekend Wonder Detox.)

Winter squashes also deliver high amounts of soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. According to a recent article, one-half cup of winter squash has as much soluble fiber as one cup of lentils or barley, or three-quarters of a cup of cooked oat brain.

But, which squash has the best nutritional value? Acorn squash takes the gold thanks to its higher amounts of folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium than butternut, hubbard, or spaghetti squash. One cup of cooked acorn provides more potassium (896 mg) than two bananas (844 mg). The recommended amount of potassium is 4700 mg daily.

Butternut squash takes silver. While acorn shines in other nutrients, butternut has more vitamin C and beta carotene than acorn, hubbard, and spaghetti squash. It is also a good source of beta-carotene.

While spaghetti squash has the lowest nutritional value of these four winter squashes, it is still worth enjoying because it makes a high fiber, low carb alternative to spaghetti noodles or pasta.

Image credit: amlamster via Flickr

How to Roast Squash:

Cut your choice of squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Most squash seeds are packed with nutrition and good roasted for several minutes so don’t throw them out. Brush with a small amount of olive oil. You can add a touch of real maple syrup if you want. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees F, or until it is tender when it is punctured with a fork.

Seasonings that Go Well with Squash:

  • Cinnamon
  • Chipotle
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Nutmeg
  • Rosemary

 

More Ways to Enjoy Squash:

I add a cup or two of roasted squash to chili whenever I make it.  It adds a delicious sweetness that offsets the spices.  For a salad that’s perfect for the colder weather, you can top a plate of greens with warm, roasted wedges of squash and your favorite vinaigrette dressing.  It’s also great in tacos with your favorite taco ingredients.  Blend roasted squash with a dash of sea salt and cumin for a delicious and nutritious soup.

And Even More Ways:

 

Check out my new books Weekend Wonder Detox, 60 Seconds to Slim, and The Probiotic Promise. Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow my blog on my sites HealthySurvivalist.com and DrMichelleCook.com, and Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.  Take the FREE WEEKEND WONDER DETOX QUIZ to determine which detox is best for you.

147 comments

Caitlin L
Caitlin L8 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Sue H
Sue H2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Emma L
Emma L2 months ago

Thanks

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Louise R
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Paula A
Paula A3 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Sonia M

Good article thanks for sharing

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogersabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogersabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogersabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogersabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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