The health benefits of Acorn Squash seem unlimited. It has one of the highest capabilities to prevent many serious illnesses, such as certain cancers; eyesight; strengthen the immune system; increase bone strength; keep blood pressure at healthy levels; maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels within the normal range; provide skin protection; maintain healthy blood circulation; and improve the digestive process.
Acorn Squash attributes its name to its appearance. When fully grown, it is a large, green acorn with heavy ridges around the exterior. Its scientific name is Cucurbita pepo (var. turbinate). In other parts of the world, Acorn Squash is called Des Moines Squash or Pepper Squash.
Regarding seasonality, this squash reaches its peak in winter. Countries in the eastern regions, such as the Philippines, most commonly eat the trumpet flowers and leaves. Similar to other varieties of squash, Acorn can be sautéed, steamed, stuffed, baked, or added to other vegetable and meat dishes for added flavor, not to mention its health benefits.
Many Native Americans traditionally used the hearty and nutritious Acorn Squash that grew in abundance in Central and North America. When European explorers took the squash seeds back to their homelands, they began cultivating it, which then spread across the globe.
Acorn Squash has become a significant part of a healthy and balanced diet. It is not only delicious, but it packs more nutrients as compared to the other members of the squash family.
Given its relatively small size, Acorn Squash is very nutrient-dense. It has a variety of nutrients, making this fruit rich in dietary fiber, and low in saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol. Acorn Squash also contains significant amounts of minerals and vitamins, such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, B1 (Thiamin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), and the B-Complex vitamins.
1. Strengthens the Immune System
Acorn Squash contains significant levels of Vitamin C, which is known to effectively boost the body’s immune system. This vitamin encourages the production of white blood cells in the body, which is responsible for defense against disease-causing pathogens, and other harmful foreign substances. In addition, Vitamin C plays a vital role in the development of blood vessels, muscle tissues, teeth, skin and body organs. It is a highly potent antioxidant, which effectively aids the body in fighting against serious health problems, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
2. Promotes Better Eyesight
Acorn Squash contains high amounts of Vitamin A, which is common in different varieties of squash. It also contains high amounts of Beta-Carotene. This is another type of antioxidant your body needs to reduce oxidative stress in the eyes, protecting against macular degeneration and cataracts, which are the two most serious eye conditions affecting a person’s vision.
3. Improves Appearance of Skin
Vitamin A, found in Acorn Squash, plays a significant role in promoting healthy skin. The antioxidant substances found in Vitamin A and other vitamins found in Acorn Squash improves skin appearance; thus, this fruit makes your skin look younger and glowing. At the same time, it also helps erase blemishes, lighten scars, heal wounds faster and provide protection against germs and premature skin aging.
4. Improves Digestion and Manages Diabetes
Acorn Squash has a reputation of containing significant amounts of dietary fiber. One serving of Acorn Squash contains almost 10g of dietary fiber, which is about 35% of the daily requirement. Fiber aids in digestion, as it adds bulk to bowel movements; hence, it can effectively diminish constipation, cramping, bloating and diarrhea. In addition, fiber regulates the body’s blood glucose levels, consequently preventing the occurrence of diabetes mellitus. It also effectively helps those with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
Dietary fiber also sweeps away cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels. It averts cardiovascular problems, such as atherosclerosis, a notorious cause of severe heart conditions, like strokes and heart attacks.
5. Maintains Normal Blood Pressure Levels
High concentrations of Potassium in Acorn Squash ensures that blood pressure levels remain within the normal levels. As a vasodilator, Potassium relaxes the arteries and veins in the body, reducing stress on the heart, which lowers blood pressure levels.
Potassium also helps in the maintenance of correct fluid balances within the cells and tissues of your body. The trace mineral boosts metabolic efficiency and ensures that the pathway of cells and enzymes are functioning correctly.
Acorn Squash contains high levels of Magnesium, a mineral that ensures the proper absorption of Potassium. This mineral boosts the positive benefits of Potassium to the body.
6. Promotes Stronger Bones
Many of the minerals found in Acorn Squash are important in the production and growth of bones. These minerals assist in the healing and rejuvenation of existing bone matter.
Acorn Squash’s content of diverse minerals, in sufficient amounts, prevents the development of Osteoporosis. It ensures that the bones remain strong and sturdy, well into the years to come.
7. Prevents Certain Types of Cancers
Many different foods contain antioxidants, and Acorn Squash is no exception, It contains an abundant amount of Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene. These two nutrients are the most effective antioxidants. Free radicals causes unhealthy cell mutation. Consuming Acorn Squash can certainly neutralize those cancer-causing free radicals.
Aside from preventing cancer, the antioxidant contents of Acorn Squash fight against the development of cognitive disorders. The antioxidants prevent or reverse signs of premature aging. They also help in combating other serious health conditions caused by oxidative stress and free radicals.
Acorn Squash contains high amounts of carbohydrates. Although the fruit does not contain any simple sugars normally associated with carbohydrates, it still packs calories. Those who are following a low calorie and carbohydrate diet should not include Acorn Squash in their diet regimen.