Squash is one of those foods that is often confused as being a fruit and a vegetable. Irrespective of what you call it, there’s no denying that it comes packed with a series of health benefits. Right from superficial advantages like better-looking skin and stronger hair to much-needed gains like healthier lungs and better digestive and bone health, squash can deliver it all. Read on to find out how squash positively impacts your health.
1. Squash Boosts Immunity
It’s always good to include immunity-boosting foods in your diet. Squash, in particular, contains substantial amounts of vitamin C, which is one of the strongest antioxidants we know of. Squash also contains small, but vital amounts of other minerals such as magnesium, copper, and potassium. All of these vitamins and minerals work together to boost your body’s natural immune system and improve the body’s capacity to defend itself against foreign substances.
The antioxidant-rich fruit also helps to avoid cell damage and neutralizes free radicals in your body. Free radicals affect the body’s DNA and weaken the body, making it susceptible to diseases. They have also been connected with several chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Fruits like squash improve your body’s immunity barrier and guard the body’s vital organs like the heart, lungs, and the organs of the digestive system.
2. Manages Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that affects the lives of millions of people around the world. In order to manage the symptoms of the disease, it is advisable to consume adequate quantities of vegetables and to stay sufficiently hydrated. Another parameter necessary for handling the symptoms of diabetes is the proper regulation of sugar metabolism in the body.
B-complex vitamins are responsible for controlling the body’s metabolic activity. As it turns out, squash is loaded with B-complex vitamins. The fruit is also an excellent source of dietary fibers including polysaccharides like pectin, which play a significant role in regulating the levels of sugar in the blood. Pectin ensures that the glucose and insulin-related activities in the body function smoothly, and prevents the levels of insulin and glucose from shooting up or dropping down drastically, thus making the life of a diabetic patient smoother.
3. Fights Infections
Not only does squash naturally boost the body’s immune system, but it also specifically helps the body fight off certain kinds of infections. It’s the seeds in the fruit that are responsible for this superpower. The seeds in squash fruits are edible, and they’ve been found to have antiparasitic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. Together, these characteristics help the body fight off infections such as ringworms and tapeworms.
Squash is also a quick and effective remedy for combating infections that stem from the presence of intestinal parasites. Aside from these specific issues, squash can also be used to help keep seasonal infections at bay. In case of an affliction, the fruit can help the body fight off the infection faster. Soup extracted from the fruit has proven to be particularly effective when it comes to battling infections.
Squash is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and contains abundant quantities of carotenoids like zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene that are highly anti-inflammatory. Aside from these nutrients, squash also contains an anti0inflammatory polysaccharide called homogalacturonan. All of these ingredients make squash a powerful remedy against inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout.
But it’s not only the two inflammations that affect the body; other organs can also fall prey to infections that can leave their cells inflamed. Including squashes as a part of your everyday diet can help your body fight off inflammation at the micro level and can eradicate infections before they turn into serious inflammatory conditions. Studies on the fruits have also revealed that it is particularly effective in reducing inflammation related to the cardiovascular system and to gastric and duodenal ulcers.
5. Healthier Lungs
Squash boosts the health of various organs in the body; there’s no doubt about that. But the fruits are particularly beneficial to the lungs. In recent years, the levels of pollution from the burning of fossil fuels for several industrial purposes have increased, especially in metropolitan cities. This kind of pollution can be extremely harmful to the lungs.
It is also responsible for many long-term respiratory disorders. Squash can help combat some of these health issues, primarily because it is a rich source of vitamin A, which has been proven to significantly reduce the ill effects of emphysema in people who are exposed to substantial levels of smoke and carcinogens. Squash also contains the antioxidant beta-cryptoxanthin, which helps to reduce the occurrence of lung cancer and to minimize the damage caused to the lungs by free radicals in the environment.
6. Maintain Healthy Skin
The beta-carotene in squash is converted into vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that is capable of maintaining the health and integrity of the skin when it is exposed to harsh sunlight. Squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is one of the most potent antioxidants known to mankind.
Vitamin C fight free radicals in the body, protecting the cells and tissues from damage and disintegration. It also keeps the skin moist and prevents dehydration and drying. But the benefits that squash has on the skin do not end here. This miracle-fruit also helps keeps signs of aging at bay. So, you can bid goodbye to fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation. The unbeatable combination of vitamins A and C makes squash one of the best fruits to add to your diet if you want to ensure that your skin remains healthy and supple.
7. Promotes Hair Growth
Everybody, except an incredibly lucky few, suffers from hair problems at some point in their life. These issues can range from hair loss and thinning to dandruff and premature graying. Common causes for these conditions include stress, exposure to harsh chemicals and pollutants, deficiency of essential nutrients, and sometimes, prolonged illness. While it can be tempting to seek recourse in commercial products to treat problems like hair loss, they may only worsen the condition.
Fruits like squash, which is a rich source of vitamin A, can improve the overall health of your hair. Including squash as a part of your diet on a regular basis can help prevent split ends and hair breakage, promote the growth of healthy hair, improve the strength of hair follicles, and can even help deal with troubles like early graying of hair.
8. Boosts Digestion
You know how they say that most diseases begin in the gut? It’s partially true because the digestive system is one of the most complex arrangements in the body. Also, when the digestive process does not take place efficiently, it can result in improper absorption of nutrients by the body. This, in turn, can reduce the body’s metabolic activity and immunity.
Ensuring that you have optimal digestive health can help keep a good many diseases at bay. And here is how squash can help. The fruit is a good source of dietary fiber, which plays an important role in digestion. Studies show that from a 100 grams serving of yellow squash, you get around 2.52 grams of fiber. Consuming adequate fiber can facilitate proper bowel movements and relieve the symptoms of many gut-related issues like constipation, bloating, and acidity.
If you take a look at the nutritional profile of squash, you’ll find that the fruit is a good source of a number of vitamins. Among these are vitamin A, as well as significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and folate. That’s a lot of vitamin content in one fruit.
Now, each of these vitamins come with their own benefits to the body. Vitamin A, as you have already seen, is an effective antioxidant. That aside, it also promotes good vision and improves bone, skin, and tissue health. Vitamin C plays an important role in many processes in the body, such as forming collagen, making skin and blood vessels, building tendons and ligaments, and repairing and maintain the cartilage.
Vitamin E helps maintain healthy skin, and the entire complex of B vitamins offer several health benefits like cell health, better brain function, and proper nerve function. So, squash isn’t a fruit you should pass up.
10. Healthy Bones
As you age, loss of bone density is inevitable. Having brittle bones can result in painful conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. This is especially true in the case of women over forty years of age. However, taking care to include fruits and vegetables that promote bone health can prevent your bones from becoming weak and brittle as you age. In this regard, squash, which a good source of calcium, can help.
Calcium, as we all know, plays a major role in bone growth and repair. Squash can provide up to 22 milligrams of calcium in a serving of 100 grams. Aside from calcium, squash also provides small but necessary amounts of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese. All of these minerals play significant roles in processes like calcium absorption, maintaining bone structure, creating enzymes, and improving the mineral density in the spinal column.
Now that you know how healthy squash is, make sure to include it in your diet in any way you can. You could add it to a salad, or extract its juice and make a smoothie, or you could even simply dry and roast its seeds. All of these ideas can help you take advantage of the health benefits that squash offers.