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The Hidden Gem That is Butternut Squash

I think it is safe to say that most of us start to notice a sudden appearance of butternut squash in recipes during the fall and winter, although it often tends to be completely forgotten about once the summer months start to set in. I think this is truly unfortunate, because I recently learned from an informative article by SF Gate that butternut squash is actually packed with important and necessary benefits for your health and wellness. After reading this post, you will probably want to start adding more of this incredible gourd to your meals.

Butternut squash has plenty of important vitamins and minerals, including a substance known as carotenoids. These are components of vitamin A that include beta-carotene and lutein, which are known for improving skin and hair health. Lutein in particular is important for keeping your eyes healthy and strong, and can even prevent such conditions as cataracts and macular degeneration. Butternut squash is also full of antioxidants, which are amazingly beneficial for maintaining and protecting your health. Antioxidants block harmful free radicals (often found in UVA and UVB rays of sunlight) from oxidizing in the body and damaging cells and causing inflammation. The antioxidants found in butternut squash serve to build and strengthen the walls of your cells in order to prevent free radicals and any other harmful foreign substances from damaging the cells.

The list of benefits of butternut squash just keeps on going. Butternut squash also has healthy amounts of fiber and electrolytes. Fiber is important for keeping your digestive tract moving regularly, which prevents constipation, bloating, and abdominal cramps. Electrolytes are an important substance that the body needs in order to move fluids throughout the body. Potassium, magnesium, and calcium are three electrolytes that butternut squash can provide for the body. These substances also work to encourage muscle contraction, while also relaxing the cardiovascular muscles, which is an important balance to have in order to improve and maintain the health of your heart.

Now that you know a little more about the many positive effects that butternut squash can have on your body’s health and wellness, you should also know about the best ways to prepare this wonderful food in order to reap the most amount of benefits. Many people make the unfortunate mistake of peeling off the skin of the gourd before preparing it to eat. While this is not a bad thing to do, it does eliminate many of the important vitamins and minerals that the body needs from sources such as butternut squash. Be sure to keep the skin intact in order to really benefit from the food.

 

 

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Greg & Stacie Humpherys

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