Acorn squash benefits a lot. Acorn squash is rich in nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. It also packs many beneficial plant compounds, including carotenoid antioxidants. As a result, acorn squash may promote overall health and protect against certain chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Here we are going to discuss more details.
Acorn Squash Benefits
May Boost Immunity
Acorn squash is a great source of vitamin C, which may be one of the best ways to boost your immune system. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, may help stimulate the production of white blood cells, which defend the body from pathogens and other unwanted germs/microbes. Furthermore, vitamin C is an important part of the body’s development, in terms of muscle tissue, blood vessels, teeth, skin, and organs. Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant, helping to protect the body from serious conditions, such as heart diseases.
May Improve Vision
Vitamin A may be found in significant quantities in acorn squash. And, while that isn’t an unusual vitamin to find, high levels of it mean high levels of beta-carotene as well, which is a very good antioxidant to have in our system. Beta-carotene, specifically, might have been directly linked to reducing oxidative stress in the eyes, which means that cataracts and macular degeneration can be prevented with proper intake of vitamin A in acorn squash.
May Promote Skin Care
Along with protecting the eyes, vitamin A may also play an important role in maintaining skin health. The antioxidant compounds derived from vitamin A, as well as other vitamins found in acorn squash, ensure that the skin looks young and toned. They may also help to eliminate blemishes and scars, speed the healing of wounds, and protect the skin from pathogens and premature aging.
May Control Diabetes
Perhaps the most significant component found in acorn squash is a dietary fiber that can regulate our digestion by adding bulk to our bowel movements and may eliminate constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and bloating. Furthermore, it may even help regulate the levels of blood sugar in the body, thereby helping to prevent the development of diabetes and maintain stable glucose levels.
May Regulate Blood Pressure
The high content of potassium found in this delicious variety of squash means that blood pressure can be maintained at a safe level. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it can relax blood vessels and arteries, thereby reducing stress on the heart and lowering blood pressure. Potassium may also help regulate the fluid balance in the cells and tissues, boosting metabolic efficiency and keeping our enzymatic and cellular pathways functioning properly. Magnesium regulates the uptake of potassium, so the high content of magnesium in acorn squash can make these effects even stronger.
May Build Strong Bones
Acorn squash has a wide variety of minerals, including calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorous. Many of these minerals are integral parts in the development of new bones, as well as the regrowth and healing of the bone matter we already have. Sufficient mineral diversity in the body may help prevent osteoporosis and ensure that our bones remain strong and functional well into our later years.
With so many chronic diseases fueled by systemic inflammation, we’d all do well to get a good amount of antioxidants in our diet. These nutrients help reduce inflammation by cleaning cells of harmful waste. Many micronutrients in acorn squash—like vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese—have antioxidant properties that can contribute to this process.
Boosts Digestive Health
At 9 grams per cup, acorn squash is plenty high in fiber. A high-fiber diet contributes to digestive health since the gut microbiome requires this nutrient to create a healthy home for beneficial bacteria. Plus, more fiber in the diet can prevent constipation. The addition of magnesium in acorn squash may help too since this nutrient is known for its laxative and stool softening properties.
Acorn Squash Nutrition Facts
One cup of cubed acorn squash (205g) provides 115 calories, 2.3g of protein, 30g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of fat. Acorn squash is a great source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and iron. The following acorn squash nutrition information has been provided by the USDA.
- Calories: 115
- Fat: 0.3g
- Sodium: 8.2mg
- Carbohydrates: 30g
- Fiber: 9g
- Sugars: No information provided
- Protein: 2.3g
- Magnesium: 88.2mg
- Potassium: 896mg
- Manganese: 0.5mg
- Vitamin C: 22mg
- Iron: 1.9mg
Most of the calories in acorn squash come from carbohydrates. Nearly one-third of these carbs (9 grams) are provided in the form of fiber. While the USDA doesn’t offer a breakdown of the sugar or starch content of acorn squash, research suggests that these two forms of carbohydrate are responsible for between 50% and 70% of its water-free mass at the time it is harvested.
Acorn squash is naturally very low in fat, offering just 0.3 grams per 1-cup serving. A majority of this fat is polyunsaturated (0.12 grams).
Though acorn squash isn’t a major source of protein, it does provide a small amount of this macronutrient at 2.3 grams per cup. This is about 5% of the Daily Value (DV) for those following a 2,000-calorie diet.
Vitamins and Minerals
When it comes to micronutrients, acorn squash has plenty to offer. One cup provides a healthy dose of magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and iron. Acorn squash also contains calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium, and a few B vitamins.
There are 115 calories in a one-cup serving of cubed acorn squash. That makes it a bit higher than butternut squash, another winter squash that supplies around 82 calories per cubed cup.
Side Effects of Acorn Squash
Because it’s low in purines and oxalates, acorn squash is generally considered very hypoallergenic. However, some people have a winter squash allergy, so stop eating acorn squash and contact your doctor immediately if you develop rashes, or hives or notice difficulties in breathing.
Another common reaction to squash is mild irritant contact dermatitis, inflammation, and swelling of the skin caused by handling this vegetable with bare hands. It’s more common in other forms of squash, but if you find your skin becomes itchy, red, or swollen when handling acorn squash, try using gloves when preparing it.
The only medicinal interaction known to occur from acorn squash is related to the beta-carotene in the raw form of the veggie. Large amounts of beta-carotene can interact with statins and mineral oil, so if you take either of these, try eating your acorn squash only in cooked form.