Squash is a plant which originated from Americas and it is one of the major and earliest plants that cultivated in Mexico and North America, along with other plant such as maize and beans. The Mexican has been cultivated and consumed squash since 8,000 Bc and the American colonist later called it as squash which means ‘something that eaten raw”.
Squash has been introduced to European colonist by the native American Indians and when they back to their countries they cultivated it in Europe fro many generations. Nowadays squash grown in many are in this world and people consume it because its delicate flavor and smooth textures.
It is very popular in Unites States and eastern European countries. California is the area in America which squash widely grown and produced during summer and winter. They end cultivating the squash after Fall comes.
Types of Squash
Squash is categorized as fruit even some people regard it as vegetable. They categorized as fruit since they contains seed inside it. Commonly squash divided into two main types the summer and winter squash. Unlike winter squash, summer squash is harvested before the ring got hard and the fruit mature.
Summer squash also divided into several types
- Summer squashes types include
- yellow crookneck
Winter squash include
- Pumpkins are also considered a type of squash and gourd plant
Generally, the nutrition of squash is different based on the varieties. The peel of squash also contains many nutrients so its better to never peel summer squash. Squash are also very low in calories. Squash are high in vitamins A and C, and niacin while containing useful amounts of folate, potassium. Most squash also contains protein, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, manganese, and other vital nutrients.
Health Benefits of Squash
Since squash contains some nutrients it is served you with many benefits. These are the great benefits of squash that you may get from consume it :
1. Prevent cancer
Squash contains some vitamin C which acts as antioxidant that can fight cancer. Some studies reported that the juice of squash can prevent the cell from mutation which is triggered by free radicals damage.
2. Fight inflammation
Inflammation usually happen as result of infection in the body. Squash contain beta-carotene which is known as both powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating or consuming squash juice can help you to reduce inflammation.
3. Prevent diabetes
Caretenoid which presence in squash can help to regulate blood sugar level . so does the fiber that found in squash can also double the effect in lowering blood sugar level. Thats why squash is consider as healthy snack for diabetes patients.
4. Lowering risk of lung cancer
Squash especially the winter squash is rich in phytonutrients called as beta-cryptoxanthin. Beta-cryptoxanthin is one molecule of Vitamin A which can lower the risk of lung cancer. According to study by researcher in Kansas State University found that squash contains high amount of Vitamin A that can prevent the damage and deadly effect of cigarrette smoke.
5. Reduce the risk of heart disease
Squash contains folate that can help to break the homocystein that has harmful effect to the blood vessels. Homocystein is a non-protein amino acid which linked to the heart disease if its accumulated in blood within high level. The beta-carotene which contained in squash also can block the cholesterol to enter the blood vessel that can cause arteries thickening and heart disease and stroke.
6. Prevent atherosclerosis
Squash contain high amount of beta-carotene which can slightly reduce the cholesterol level in the blood and also inhibit the cholesterol from entering arteries wall. Consuming squash regularly can significantly prevent the development of atherosclerosis.
7. Fight asthma
Again the beta-carotene found in squash play important role in reducing the inflammation that occur in the respiratory tract including asthma. Beta-carotene acts as anti-inflammatory properties that fight the inflammation and reduce the infection.
8. Reduce the symptom of arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a symptom of autoimmune disease that can be reduced by regular consumption of squash specially winter squash. Squash contains high amount of beta-carotene and vitamin C that can reduce inflammation in the joint plus reducing the pain
9. Promote healthy digestion
Squash contains high amount of fiber which can promote healthy digestion. Fiber add bulk to the stool and help the bowel movement passed the large intestine.
10. Relieve constipation
Constipation may be the most common sign of digestion problem. People will experience hard defecation process and make its hard to excrete the feces. Squash contains fiber which can help to soften the stool and make defecation process in large intestine easier.
11. Reduce cholesterol
Squash contains high fiber that can reduce cholesterol. It is effective in reducing cholesterol by inhibit it from getting absorb by the body. People with high cholesterol level is sugested to consume squash regularly.
12. Maintain healthy pregnancy
Contain some amount of folate makes squash is a healthy snack for pregnant women. Folates help the development of fetus in the womb and prevent the newborn baby from neural tube damage and other birth defects.
13. Lowering blood pressure
A study which published in WebMd has been reported that the fiber contained in squash can help to lowering blood pressure among people who suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.
14. Improve vision
Beta carotene is type of Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant which is vital in keeping healthy vision. Consuming squash regularly can make your eyes glowing and healthy.
15. Prevent scurvy
Scurvy is a disease which occur in mouth that is caused by lack of vitamin C. Scurvy cause gum swelling and bleeding that can be serious. Squash contains high amount of vitamin C that will nourish your body and prevent scurvy.
16. Maintain healthy skin
What else can make you skin glowing else the Vitamin C and other antioxidant? Squash contains lots of nutrient and antioxidant that can prevent free radical effect in skin. Free radicals can cause skin damage and even worse skin cancer. Consuming squash can help you to have healthy and young skin. Some types of squash like kobucha can also be used as face mask to keep beauty face skin.
17. Boost immune system
This benefits also offered by almost all types of squash. They contain high amount of Vitamin C that can enhance the immune system function especially to fight disease and infection
18. Prevent flu and cold
Influenza and cold is common disease that usually occur to people who is weak in immune system or having low stamina. Weak immune system can make virus and bacteria enter the body easily. Squash contain high amount of vitamin c that has significant effect in boosting immune system function especially in prevent cold and flu.
19. Prevent anemia
Squash contain some important mineral such as iron and copper that play important role in the red blood cell formation and prevent from anemia ( a condition lack of red blood cell in the body )
20. Keeping strong bones
Some squash contains calcium, magnesium, iron and copper that can keep the healthy and strong bones. Calcium play important role in keeping bone mass and prevent osteoporosis.
21. Maintain healthy prostate
Squash contains strong antioxidant that can prevent the enlarge of prostate in man or known as BPH or benign prostate hypertrophy . it can cause difficulty in urination and sexual function
22. Reduce the symptoms of Pre-menstrual syndrome
Manganese is known as effective supplement to cure pre-menstrual syndrome. It can reduce the cramps that occur in stomach and reduce it pain. According to a study, consuming squash that contains manganese can get rid uncomfortable feeling during menstuation period.
23. Help in weight lost
Just like other vegetable and fruit, squash contain high fiber which is well known in decreasing weight and maintain healthy body. It can make people who consume it feel full and not getting hunger often.
How to purchase and store squash
- Purchase only fresh squash or the one with good skin condition and hard textures
- Avoid to purchase squash with moldy and soften texture it may be a sign of rotten.
- You can also grow your own squash in the garden and enjoy the freshness of squash during summer or winter
- Once the squash peel and cut, store it in a container and keep it in fridge. It can only last until 3 to 5 days in fridge
- Wash the squash just before you wanna use it
- Squash can also be freeze and it is best method to keep the squash in longer period.
- You can use the squash by peeling it or unpeeled. They both can be used in different way of cooking
How to enjoy squash
Squash can be enjoyed in many ways according to the type of squash.There are no evidence or case that reported the health risk of squash. So its totally save to enjoy the squash in many various ways. These are some ways that can be followed to enjoy the flavor of squash.
- Some squash can be enjoy as sweet dessert such as acorn, butternut, pumpkin, kabocha and other. Bake the squash and add mapple syrup in it can enhance the flavor
- Adding squash on salad is a great option. Zucchini, a type of summer squash has great flavor if its eaten as salad. It can also served in some other dish such as sushi or as side dish
- You can also add squash in soup or stew. It also best as ingredients of some cakes and muffin.
Since you have found the great benefits of squash, you can try to purchase and consume it. It will not only taste delicious for you but also will make you healthier. So, go grab the benefits.