Being treated as vegetable around the world, it is a lesser known fact that butternut squash is actually a fruit. Yes, you read that right. Be it the appearance, taste or the benefits, this fruit is going to surprise you with its high scores in all three areas. Let’s get to know about this high achiever fruit or you may call it a vegetable in your mind. We can assure you; it won’t mind.
What Is It And Where It Came From?
There is so much to it that we can’t wait to tell it all to you. First things first let’s talk about its starry appearance. A type of winter squash butternut squash has a pale orange skin on the outside while on inside it is bright orange is colour. The shape is like an elongated pear and the skin and flesh are quite firm and hard. It belongs to Cucurbitaceae family which makes it a cousin of zucchini and pumpkin; how could it not be good, true right?
Butternut squash is not result of a cross among plants nor is it a newly originated fruit. In fact, it dates back to almost 10,000 years ago and is a native to Central America and Mexico. Even the name has also come from a Native American language word “askutasquash” which in literal words translates to something that is eaten raw or uncooked.
Let’s talk about the taste that has made it popular and rising star of both sweet and savoury recipes around the world since last couple of years. The taste is an amalgamation of mild, sweet and nutty taste. To give you a hint, we can call it a cross between turnip/carrot and a sweet potato (flavour wise). Grill it, roast it, make a soup out of it or stuff it with your favourite ingredients, you are never going to be disappointed.
Nutritional Profile of Butternut Squash:
A cup of butternut squash makes one serving of it and that alone is packed with loads of minerals and vitamins. Here, have a look:
- Total Calories: 82
- Proteins: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 22g
- Fibre: 7g
- Vitamin C: 52% of RDI
- Vitamin A: 457% of RDI
- Vitamin E: 13% of RDI
- Vitamin B6: 13% of RDI
- Manganese: 18% of RDI
- Potassium: 17% of RDI
- Magnesium: 15% of RDI
Benefits of Butternut Squash:
You must be awe struck by the stunning nutritional profile of this valuable fruit. But we are on a mission to surprise you more. So, it is time to have a look at the benefits of this amazing fruit enlisted below:
- Decreased Risk of Disease: butternut squash is rich in antioxidants by nature mainly beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. The antioxidants are responsible for slowing down and preventing cell damage altogether. Moreover, they also reduce inflammation. All of these events result in a decreased risk of diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart and mental disorders. This has been supported by studies as well.
- Reducing Blood Pressure: A serving of butternut squash contains 500mg of potassium which makes it a potential factor in reducing blood pressure by playing a counteract role against sodium which is high in our diets and responsible for high blood pressure. A medium sized banana contains less potassium than that. Keeping your blood pressure in limits would save you from serious health disorders.
- Keeping your Digestive System in Check: A single serving of butternut squash contains 7g of fibre/25% of RDI. Fibre is quintessential for a healthy gut. It keeps your bowel movements regular and prevents damage to digestive system just like baobab does.
- Good for your Eyesight: We often tend to overlook our eyes health where in fact they are the ones that really need care with the continuous exposure to screen times. If you allow butternut squash in your diet it would do the task happily. Butternut squash comes naturally packed with plenty of Vitamin A; a cup literally contains 350% of RDA. It is an open secret that Vitamin A is crucial for healthy eye-sight. Not only this, but it also contains lutein and zeaxanthin which are antioxidants that have a protective role towards the eyes.
- Gives you Healthy Bones: A fruit strengthening your bones? Well, that’s a new one. But blame it to the high manganese content in this gifted fruit. A serving of butternut squash contains 17% manganese. That’s why it can maintain a healthy bone structure, improve mineral density in the spinal cord as well as amp up the calcium absorption. Don’t forget that vitamin C is also a jewel in the crown of butternut squash and that helps in formation of collagen which in turn plays a role in building bone mass. Wait, there is more to it. This squash is rich in bone friendly minerals like zinc, iron and folate that protect against osteoporosis and bone health.
- Immunity Booster: As it is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, it is a no-brainer that it helps in boosting immunity to a great deal.
Are there any health risks?
It is always a good idea to check the possible side effects of a food you are thinking of adding to diet. As far as butternut squash is concerned, there are no as such side effects to it but we would like to mention these:
- For those who are on a medication for heart disease, they may consume it in moderation.
- As it is rich in potassium, people having kidney disease should also consume it with care.
You are now fully equipped with butternut squash knowledge and can start trying out the recipes today. It’s a dilemma that we have been gifted a variety of amazing and nutritionally rich fruits like butternut squash by nature but we only stick to a few. As inhabitants of this planet it is our duty to find these fruits and get as much benefits from them as we can!
You are missing out on a great gift of nature if you haven’t benefited yourself from Baobab yet. As much as iconic upside tree of Baobab amuses one’s eyes, the fruit growing on it is no less. Holding the record of only fruit in the world that dries naturally on the tree, Baobab is an exceptional superfruit that has some astounding features as well as benefits associated with it.
Let’s know a further about this valuable fruit.
What Is Its Origin And How It Grows?
Called by the scientific name Adansonia, the fruit grown on the tree known as “tree of life” is native to Africa, Australia, Arabia and Madagascar. Citrus in taste, the fruit grows on the tree that reaches up to 98 feet in height. Initially it is prickly with a fur coating and green in colour. After basking in sun for six months it dries up and transforms into brown coconut like shell that is smooth on the surface. The shell is harder than coconut and often requires hammer to break it open, tough isn’t it?
When you crack open the fruit, the pulp of the fruit is all dehydrated. You must be wondering what’s the benefit of it if the fruit is all dried up. But it is actually a gift to us by nature. We get a superfood powder without any hassle that is all natural, organic and packed with rich nutrients and vitamins. We know we must have piqued your curiosity by now. So, let’s get to know some benefits of this amazing fruit and incorporate it into our daily lives.
Benefits of Baobab Fruit:
There is so much that mother nature offers to us that we can lost count easily. But it is never too late to start, is it? Many of you must be reading about baobab for the first time and we feel it is our duty to provide you with all the teeny tiny deets. So, have a look at the benefits of this valuable superfood of nature:
- Loaded with Vitamin C: Baobab is naturally full of vitamin C so much so that it only one tablespoon of baobab powder gives us half of RDA of Vitamin C. Amazing isn’t it? Wait there is more. Being rich in vitamin C brings many benefits with it, the foremost is the healthy and glowing skin. The rich zesty taste makes it very easy to add to juices, smoothies and smoothies. You can add it to certain recipes as well and get a punch of energy along with the taste. A study claims that if a pregnant woman takes 40g of baobab powder daily, it will cover 80% of her RDI of vitamin C.
- Regulation of Body Fluids: Baobab will surprise you at every step. The fruit is packed with potassium, calcium as well as magnesium that are electrolytes our body needs for proper functioning like maintaining bodily fluids and stimulating muscles and nervous system. For those who are into sports or intensive physical activities, mixing this powder in water would be very handy for an instant replenishing.
- Rich in Antioxidants: When talking about antioxidants, baobab fruit outranks many and is ranked as one of the richest source of the antioxidants. And it is no secret how antioxidants impart numerous benefits to our health like protecting against cell damage caused by free radicals, boosting immunity etc. In order to protect our bodies from risks of certain serious illnesses, we need ample number of antioxidants in our bodies and what better source could be than tasty baobab?
- Immunity Booster: Being rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, baobab is a natural immunity booster that we all need in our lives. It has been proved by a study that baobab powder can decrease oxidative damage as well as levels of inflammation in our bodies.
- Weight Loss: For those of you struggling with weight loss, here is a yummy remedy for shedding off the pounds. Baobab powder is rich in fibre both in soluble as well as insoluble (a fruit containing both, that’s a new one we know). Soluble fibre will reduce cholesterol levels in your body while insoluble fibre will help moving food smoothly through digestive system keeping bowels healthy and preventing digestive system damage. Both of these phenomena will aid in weight loss. Moreover, fibre helps you feel fuller for longer periods of time thus promoting weight loss.
- Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels: Being rich in fibre, baobab helps controlling blood sugar levels by slowing down absorption of sugar into the blood which then prevents sudden fluctuations that may lead to diabetes. Moreover, it also reduces the levels of release of insulin that is required for transporting sugar from blood to muscles.
- Iron Absorption: As per WHO, about 40% of the world population is iron deficient and the numbers are only increasing. A lesser known fact is that vitamin C amps up the absorption of iron in the blood. Hence, baobab powder can be your natural supplement for improving iron levels. Sprinkle the baobab powder on your iron containing foods and double the fun.
Side Effects of Baobab:
It is always a good idea to look out for potential side effects of any supplement or food you are about to incorporate into your diet. So, that you can weigh pros and cons and save yourself from getting into trouble later. Let’s have a look:
- Baobab pulp contains trace amounts of anti-nutrients like oxalic acid, phytates and tannins.
- Being rich in vitamin C, an increased intake would lead to diarrhoea, stomach pains as well as flatulence.
- Study needs to be carried out for effects of baobab on pregnant and breastfeeding women.
These are the only cons of baobab worth mentioning here.
Now that you are familiar with all the teeny tiny details of this wonderful natural superfood, it is time to make it a part of your diet already. But before you do, remember that moderation is the key!