Butternut squash is the bright orange autumnal vegetable that’s ever-increasing in popularity.
What is butternut squash?
Most people think of butternut squash as a vegetable. Still, technically it’s a fruit that blossoms from the squash plant’s flower. However, when people cook with butternut squash, they commonly treat it as a root vegetable.
Benefits of butternut squash
Eating butternut squash as part of a balanced diet has a host of benefits for health and wellness:
Supports eye health
Butternut squash contains zeaxanthin and lutein, two compounds associated with eye health, which scientific studies have found to reduce instances of eye-related degenerative diseases.1
A portion of butternut squash provides 52% of your daily recommended vitamin A. Getting enough vitamin A in your diet is linked to healthy hormonal function throughout life.2
Beta-carotene, found within butternut squash, has been shown to enhance the immune system’s protective abilities.3 Furthermore, butternut squash contains large amounts of vitamin A, which has anti-infective properties.4
Supports digestive health
One 100g portion of butternut squash provides 2% of your daily recommended fibre allowance.5 Enjoying a diet rich in fibrous foods is essential for preserving digestive health.6
Encourages heart health
Butternut squash is full of carotenoids, potent antioxidants which give some vegetables a bright orange, yellow, or red colour.7
Eating one portion of carotenoids each day, like butternut squash, has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of developing heart ailments later in life.8
Read more: A guide to taking care of your heart
Butternut squash nutrition profile
A portion of cooked butternut squash weighing 205g contains9:
|Energy||Carbs||Protein||Fibre||Vitamin A||Vitamin C||Vitamin E|
|82 kcal||22g||2g||7g||457% of RDA||52% of RDA||13% of RDA|
How to include more butternut squash in your diet
The best way to include more butternut squash in your diet is to cook with it. Sneak in an extra hit of health by adding butternut squash cubes to mac and cheese, or blending boiled squash to make a pasta sauce.
If you want to put butternut squash front and centre, consider stuffing it with rice, dried fruits, and herbs to indulge in a tangy winter warmer.
Many people also enjoy butternut squash cubed and served on the side of another dish.
Potential risks of butternut squash
Butternut squash is generally considered safe for children and babies to eat, as allergic reactions from ingesting butternut squash aren’t documented.10 However, butternut squash has been known to cause irritation when topically applied to the skin.11
Last updated: 2 March 2021