Winter Squash: Meet the acorn squash

When most hear the word squash, images of spaghetti squash, pumpkin, and butternut squash, and gourds, come to mind. Few think of acorn squash. This squash is actually very good and should be given more recognition.

Acorn squash is a winter squash that has distinctive longitudinal rides on the exterior. It has a sweet, yellow-orange flesh inside. It is actually small in size, being between four and seven inches long, and can weight between 1-2 pounds. Much as the name suggests, it looks like an acorn.

 

Acorn squash also has many health benefits that can make it a great addition to your healthy diet.


Excellent for Vitamins and Minerals:
Acorn squash contains vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine and vitamin B-6, but it is an especially good source of vitamin C. 1/2 cup serving of cooked, cubed acorn squash gives approximately 20% of the daily allowance for vitamin C for a healthy adult. This not only helps prevent hypertension, but also helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and osteoarthritis. Use the vegetable three to four days after purchase and cut it right before cooking. Steam or bake the squash instead of boiling it to keep vitamin C from being lost in the cooking water.

In addition, 1/2 cup serving of acorn squash 13% of the daily recommendation for potassium and 11% of the RDA of magnesium. Potassium plays a vital role in muscle contraction and maintaining the body's water balance. Magnesium regulates potassium levels. It also strengthens bones and teeth and aids in proper energy metabolism. Adding potassium- and magnesium-rich foods like acorn squash can lessen your chance of stroke, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes. Acorn squash also contains small amounts of iron, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.

Great source of Fiber
Acorn squash provides 5 grams of dietary fiber in every 1/2-cup serving. This is 18% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. The majority of the fiber Acorn Squash provies is soluble fiber. This type of fiber helps regulate blood levels of both glucose and cholesterol. A diet containing fiber-rich foods like acorn squash could help prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal disorders.

Amazing Antioxidants
The American Dietetic Association lists winter squash as one of the best sources of the antioxidant beta carotene. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that supports eye health. In addition, antioxidants can prevent cellular and DNA damage. This is because it inhibits the activity of unstable free radicals. A high intake of antioxidant-rich foods can help to lower the risk of some cancers, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Acorn squash is a great source of many different vitamins and minerals, as well as other properties that can help balance and strengthen your immune system and body. Why not give Acorn squash a try and add it to your diet.

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