The acorn squash, named for its acorn-like shape, is part of the Cucurbita family of vegetables. This family is known for its ability to fight disease and boost the immune system. Acorn squash benefits also revolve around the many nutrients it has to offer that can reduce your risk for disease. Learn more about what this tasty vegetable can do for your health by reading the list below.
Here are 7 acorn squash benefits and uses:
1. High in Antioxidants to Fight Free Radical Damage
You have likely heard about the importance of consuming a diet high in antioxidants. It’s true, but do you know why? It’s because an overabundance of free radicals, or uncharged molecules in the body. While a moderate presence of free radicals is harmless, too many of them can cause damage. They’re linked to diseases such as cancer. As such, it’s important to balance the free radicals in your body with plenty of antioxidants in your diet. (1)
Acorn squash benefits your health with its significantly high levels of antioxidants. In particular, the carotenoids in acorn squash is known for helping prevent skin, breast, lung and prostate cancer. (2)
Furthermore, acorn squash contains beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once consumed. This can help fight against cancer and heart disease. It’s best to consume beta-carotene in food sources, as taking the supplement may actually increase chances of lung cancer.
2. Boosts Immune System and Reduces Inflammation
Another one of the great acorn squash benefits is its high content of vitamin C. This can offer your immune system the boost it needs to help fight off colds, flu, and pneumonia.
Moreover, vitamin C is good for more than just short-term ailments. It’s also fantastic for fighting chronic inflammation. Inflammation, when it gets out of control, can cause several diseases. Vitamin C, however, reduces occurrence of inflammation and as such, improves the performance of your immune system. (3)
Vitamin C also helps you absorb more nutrients, which helps your body get what it needs to fight off infections and diseases. Try adding delicious acorn squash into your diet to help you get plenty of vitamin C.
3. Reduces High Blood Pressure
Acorn squash benefits your cardiovascular system as well, in that it helps maintain normal blood pressure. This is due to its high amounts of potassium—a diet high in potassium can significantly regulate blood pressure which lends itself to cardiovascular health. (4)
4. Helps Fight Cancer
Due to its high antioxidant levels, eating squash can help prevent cancer. Moreover, it’s known to protect against neurotoxicity that can lead to permanent nervous system damage. (5) One common cause of this is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, two conventional treatments for cancer. But by eating squash, you can help protect yourself against damage from these treatments.
Additionally, acorn squash benefits the fight against cancer with its high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C, in highly concentrated doses, can help the human body better respond to conventional treatments for cancer by acting as a targeting agent. This means that chemotherapy, for example, will more effectively kill cells, rather than everything it touches.
5. Gives You Healthy, Glowing Skin
Here is another way acorn squash benefits your body with vitamin C. This vitamin stimulates the production of collagen, which helps your skin stay bright and glowing. It also fights off wrinkles.
And that isn’t the only way acorn squash can benefit your skin. It’s loaded with potassium, which reduces the appearance of cellulite by treating fluid retention. You will also notice a reduction in cellulite by reducing your intake of sodium while eating plenty of acorn squash.
6. Supports Prostate Health
Acorn squash benefits prostate health, as well, in various ways. For example, it can improve the quality of life in men with enlarged prostate, or BPH. Research indicates consumption of squash increases urinary tract flow and reduces swelling of the prostate gland in BPH. (6)
Another way acorn squash benefits prostate health is through its ability to improve diabetes-related prostate issues, which also includes enlarged prostate. High amounts of vitamin C can help regulate the function of antioxidants within the prostate. It also improves the body’s natural ability to defend against damage to the prostate. (7)
7. May Reduce the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It’s characterized by a person having at least three of five possible conditions. These include a large waistline, high blood triglycerides, HDL cholesterol that is too low, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. (8)
However, this is another area in which acorn squash benefits your health. It’s known to reduce high blood pressure, improve your levels of fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream. This helps reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome. (9)
Furthermore, the fiber in acorn squash also helps reduce obesity, another crucial factor in metabolic syndrome.