Squash is a part of the same family as the pumpkin and zucchini. It is often thought of as a fruit due to the presence of seeds, and in some cases, people prefer to eat it raw. The squash was an imported crop during the pre-Columbian Era.
Squash was a trendy shape in the Moche ceramics from Northern Peru. It is one of the earliest plants domesticated in America. Five species of squash were domesticated independently before European contact. Wild squashes are extremely toxic to humans and other mammals; wild squash contains cucurbitacins which are poisonous to smaller bodied mammals such as humans. It is a flowering plant which is usually served cooked, and its seeds and blossoms are also cooked and eaten.
There are various types of squashes that are edible. Zucchini, crookneck, pattypan and such are quick-growing types. The winter squashes are large fruited; these fruits can be stored for many months after their season has passed. Evidence shows that the consumption of squash started around 75000 years ago in America and Mexico. The European settled transported squash seeds back to their land. Squash is thought to be a mix of pumpkin and zucchini. Here are 11 reasons why squash needs to be a part of your diet.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Squash
It is a storehouse of nutrients; it contains organically occurring vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamins such as C, E, B6 and minerals and health components such as niacin, thiamine, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, and iron. Minerals are also abundant in squashes, such as copper, magnesium, and potassium. Squash is overall an excellent way of getting a dose of antioxidants, carotenoids and anti-inflammatory agents.
2. Immunity Booster
Any food that can add to the strength of your immunity is a blessing. Vitamin C is one of the strongest antioxidants there is. Other minerals and antioxidants such as magnesium, potassium, and copper help strengthen the body from within. A strong immunity is a barrier that protects vital organs such as the heart, lungs and digestive system from fatal problems such as heart attack and cancer. Cellular metabolism causes free radicals to affect the DNA of cells, weakens the body and makes it susceptible to diseases. Addition of squash into your diet can be an excellent way of avoiding dangerous cell damage.
3. Diabetes Management
Diabetes is a disease that is affecting the lives of thousands of people around the globe. It can be managed through a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and proper hydration. B complex vitamins are essential for promoting metabolic activity in the body. Many types of squash are a sound source of dietary fiber which helps regulate the sugar levels in the body. Pectin is a polysaccharide that is which controls blood sugar levels and is found in abundance in squash.
Infections are usually the reason for inflammation. Inflammation can arise in any part of the body; it is not only limited to diseases such as arthritis and gout. Squash contains fatty acids such as omega 3 and carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene that are highly anti-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory effects of squash are very beneficial for all types of arthritis. Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory components of squash specifically target duodenal and gastric ulcer. The benefits of squash are abundant for heart conditions and type-2 diabetes.
5. Fights Infections
The seeds in various types of squash are also edible and have various health benefits. They are found to have antimicrobial and anti-parasitic properties that protect the body from infections and parasites such as ringworm and tapeworms. Seasonal infections can cause a lot of damage to the immune system; it’s soups can be very beneficial and clearing out the infections and restoring health.
6. Healthy Lungs
It is a potent source of vitamin A which has been observed to cause a significant reduction in emphysema, especially in people who are constantly exposed to smoke and carcinogens in cigarettes. The antioxidant beta-cryptoxanthin helps fight diseases such as lung cancer and helps prevent lung damage caused by free radicals. Pollution can also be extremely harmful and cause respiratory disorders that may have long-term effects. Eating a vitamin A rich diet can be the answer to many lung-related diseases.
7. Neural Defects
Folate is a mineral that helps the body absorb iron more efficiently. A healthy blood count is essential for women who are expecting as it severely affects the development of the fetus and the health of the mother herself. Neural tube defects are studied to be caused by the deficiency of folic acid in the body. Adding sautéed zucchini and other forms of squash to the diet can be extremely beneficial in negating neural tube defects.
8. Healthy Vision
It contains beta-carotene which is a component of the abundant vitamin A found in squash. The body is built to absorb as much vitamin A as it needs from food, squash can almost fulfill the daily requirement of vitamin A in your body. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that protects the eyes from oxidative damage and prevents degenerative stress. The retina is extremely susceptible to damage caused by free radicals; beta-carotene helps build a barrier that protects the retina. Regularly eating squash can help protect the eye from forming cataracts, vision issues, and glaucoma.
9. Prevents Anemia
Squash, especially butternut squash can provide about 60 milligrams of iron per 10 grams of serving. This is an adequate amount to prevent iron deficiency in the body and prevent the onset of anemia. It can help the body maintain levels of hemoglobin and keep the count of red blood cells up. It is also rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper, and folate. These are essential to build the blood count in the body and protect the body from a disease that is a result of iron deficiency.
10. Improved Bone Density
It is a good source of calcium and provides up to 22mg per 100 grams of serving, not only this, but it is also an excellent source of potassium and magnesium that promote bone density. Loss of bone density is a given with the progression of age and can be the cause of multiple diseases.
A healthy digestive system can guarantee an overall healthy body; most diseases begin in the gut. When the body is unable to extract nutrients properly from food it causes various diseases and reduces the metabolic capacity of the body. Squash is rich in dietary fiber which helps regulate smooth bowel movements and maintain a healthy digestive system.
A healthy diet is the best way of protecting the body from many diseases; squash is very rich in minerals and vitamins that are valuable for the body and its immunity.