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7 Raw Acorn Squash Health Benefits- HealthifyMe


Acorn Squash (Cucurbita Pepo) is a beneficial nutritious vegetable known as winter squash, and it belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. The most common varieties are dark green, yellow, orange, and white. These make interesting sweet, savoury, spicy soup and syrup recipes which are tasty and full of flavour. Its flavour resembles butternut squash; acorn squash’s yellow and orange varieties are rich in beta-carotene and magnesium. As a result, they are beneficial for the eye and prevent stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases.

It is an outstanding source of vitamin C, selenium, folate, dietary fibre, magnesium, and potassium. Acorn squash skin consists of carbohydrates that are not easily digestible. Thus, consuming at least ½ a cup per day or at least 7 cups per week is handy for a healthy diet. In addition, it is abundant with insoluble fibre that helps with weight management by adding bulk to the diet. Feeling satiated helps reduce symptoms of IBS and constipation.

Nutritional Properties of Acorn Squash

The USDA gives the following nutrition evidence for 100gms cooked acorn squash.

In Content Baner 1
  • Water: 87.8g
  • Energy: 40 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 10.4g
  • Protein: 0.8g
  • Lipid (fat): 0.1g
  • Fibre, total dietary: 1.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 14.6g

Nutritional Facts

Acorn squash has very low-fat content, with only 0.1 grams per 100g. Most of this fat (0.042grams) is polyunsaturated, a beneficial source for weight loss. Furthermore, it contains fewer sugar molecules than other winter and summer varieties. As a result, squash is a perfect low-carb diet. Although Acorn Squash is not a protein-rich vegetable, it does include a small quantity of this macronutrient, with 0.8 grams per 100 grams.

A 100g of raw Acorn Squash has vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium. It also comes with a minor quantity of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Selenium, and Vitamin B. Acorn squashes are high in beta-carotene, which helps with vision and skin health. Several studies have also shown Carotenoids to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

A 100-gram portion of acorn squash has 347 milligrams of potassium, 36 milligrams of phosphorus, and 32 milligrams of magnesium. They aid in fluid balance in cells and tissues, blood pressure regulation, and immune system development.

The HealthifyMe Note

Acorn squash is a starchy vegetable high in vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it has a lower carbohydrate content than potatoes and other squash varieties. The majority of calories in acorn squash come from carbohydrates, with fibre accounting for about a third of those calories. This fibre-rich vegetable provides roughly 1.5 grams of fibre, which helps keep blood glucose and cholesterol levels balanced. Acorn Squash has no cholesterol and can help to lower bad LDL cholesterol. Moreover, the rind of acorn squash contains insoluble fibres that help keep blood sugar levels stable.

Health Benefits of Acorn Squash

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, acorn squash is rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. As a result, it helps prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke, high cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Acorn Squash Enhances Skin

Acorn squash is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin c and beta carotene, which help prevent sun damage to the skin. According to research, consuming acorns helps avoid squamous epidermal cancer. Also, it makes skin shiny and scar-free, speeds up the skin’s healing process, and prevents premature ageing.

Enhances Vision

Acorn Squash, rich in vitamins and minerals, helps improve vision and prevent night blindness. It consists of excellent beta-carotene and vitamin C content. Also, it improves a significant role in eye vision, according to a study. Beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant. It helps reduce oxidative stress in the eyes and helps heal cell damage after injury.

Regulates Blood Pressure

Acorn squash is abundant in magnesium and potassium, enhancing certain enzymes’ functions and cellular activities. According to a study, a high amount of potassium helps to maintain blood pressure.

Potassium reduces stress, helps vasodilation, and acts as a relaxing agent for blood vessels. It also helps to prevent fluid imbalance in tissues and cells.

Strengthen Bones

Consuming acorn squash helps prevent osteoporosis and promotes bone regrowth. The great content of micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate, and phosphorus helps heal bones rapidly after injury. In addition, the consumption of acorn squash helps in the deposition of minerals in bone.

Acorn Squash Helps Manage Diabetes

Acorn squashes are rich in dietary fibres and are a non-nutrient substance that helps add bulk to the diet. Furthermore, it clears the digestive tract and helps decrease the symptoms of constipation, stomach cramping, and diarrhoea bloating. Moreover, according to a study, high fibre helps maintain blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and dietary fibre helps you feel satiated.

Boosts Immunity

Acorn squash is rich in natural antioxidants such as ascorbic acid (vitamin c). It helps with skin, eyes, teeth, blood vessels, brain, heart disorders, etc. According to a study, Vitamin C plays a significant role in strengthening the immune system. It helps to produce more white blood cells and kill pathogens and harmful microbes.

Acorn Squash Reduces Inflammation

According to research, acorn squash, rich in natural antioxidants such as vitamin C and Vitamin A, helps decrease inflammation by removing toxic elements and waste from the blood. It helps with the rapid recovery of cell damage after injury. Antioxidants help prevent free radicals and decrease the possibility of cancer, heart disorders, and degenerative diseases.

The HealthifyMe Note

Acorn squash is fibre-rich and full of natural antioxidants and helps decrease inflammation. It aids in rapid cell repair post-injury. They are rich in beta-carotene and magnesium, improving eye health and preventing stroke, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In addition, it strengthens bones, enhances immunity, improves skin, and even prevents epidermal cancer. 

Best Ways to Eat Acorn Squash

The flavour of acorn squash is considered mild, sweet, and nutty. You can use it to enhance flavour. It is usually baked, steamed, microwaved, or even sauteed. 

Savoury:

  • Saute onion, mustard, garlic, and curry leaves using oil, and add a cup full of cooked squash.
  • Add grated carrots and tomato.
  • Stir until it becomes tender, and serve with rice.

You can serve it with rice, chapatis, and meat. It is, nevertheless, used to add flavour to sauces, salads, and soups.

Sweet:

  • Cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon, garlic powder, and maple syrup.
  • Make a paste of the squash and make a batter by mixing all ingredients
  • Add a bit of oats flour for it to bind together
  • Add a spoonful of batter into the pan and roast until it becomes tender and served.

As a Toasted Seed

Squash seeds are toasted in the oven and served as a snack anytime.

Smoothies

Combine acorn squash with milk, sugar, ice, and fruits and blend with water. It tastes excellent this way.

Recipes Using Acorn Squash

  1. Acorn Squash Soup Recipe

Serves: 4 servings

Preparation Time: 10mins

Ingredients

  • Yellow onion trimmed and halved (not peeled): 1
  • Garlic cut in half, lengthwise (not peeled): 1 head 
  • Carrots washed and trimmed: 100 g
  • Fresh thyme: 4 sprigs
  • Acorn squash halved: 300g
  • Kabocha squash: 3 cups
  • Vegetable or chicken stock: 4 cups
  • Sour cream: 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Add the carrots, thyme, yellow onion, and garlic, sliced side up. Add a tbsp of olive oil, salt, and a few pepper rounds. Allow them to steam and bake slowly.
  • Place the acorn and kabocha squash in the oven and roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Remove the baking tray from the oven and allow it to cool completely before handling. Remove the peels from the onion.
  • Add half the vegetable or chicken broth to a blender and an acorn and kabocha squash scoop. Then add the thyme leaves, carrots, peeled onion, and roasted garlic cloves. Finally, add the sour cream, salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Blend until completely smooth, add the rest of the stock and blend again. Taste it and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Add a tablespoon or two of sour cream if you want it creamier.
  • You can warm the soup up in a pot or saucepan if the soup is cold. Serve in dishes with a scoop of sour cream on top.

Nutrition Facts per Serving

  • Calories: 258 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 31.2 g
  • Protein: 16.4 g
  • Fat: 7.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 25 g
  • Calcium: 64 mg
  • Sodium: 707 mg
  • Fibre: 4.4 g
  1. Baked Acorn Squash

Serves: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10mins

Ingredients

  • Acorn squash halved and seeded: 2
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter, diced: ¼ cup (75 g) 
  • Jaggery Powder: 2 tbsp (30 g)
  • Ground cinnamon: ½ tsp

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
  • Place the acorn squash in a medium baking pan with the sliced side facing down.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until crispy, in a preheated oven.
  • Season with salt and pepper, butter, jaggery powder, and cinnamon.
  • Turn over the acorn squash and continue baking for another 20 minutes.

Nutrition Value per Serving

  • Calories: 320 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 56.7 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Fat: 11.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 30.5 g
  • Sodium: 97.4 mg

Allergic Interactions

Acorn squash is not a significant food allergen. However, consuming some bitter acorn squash may lead to itchy skin symptoms, also known as irritant dermatitis. Also, excess consumption can cause rashes, hives, nausea, asphyxia, dizziness, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Cutting acorn squash can cause itchy skin, skin burning, rashes, and skin tightening. Use gloves to avoid these symptoms while handling and harvesting these vegetables.

Possible Side Effects of Acorn Squash

Digestive Disorders

Consuming adequate amounts of squash helps decrease the symptoms of IBS and bloating. However, excess consumption can cause digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, stomach cramps, bloating, abdominal pain, and indigestion because of high dietary fibres.

Antioxidative Stress

Antioxidants help reduce free radicals in the body and help reduce diseases such as cancer and neurological disease. However, excess consumption of antioxidants can lead to antioxidative stress and weaken the immune process and cognitive ability.

Weight Gain

Consuming cooked squash helps in weight management. However, people often consume it in processed foods such as frozen smoothies, milkshakes, and canned squash may lead to weight gain. 

Hypoglycemia

Consuming an adequate amount of squash helps decrease the risk of diabetes, and excess consumption can lead to higher blood glucose levels.

Storage and Food Safety

Acorn squash is a semi-perishable food; it contains less moisture and has a medium shelf life. Acorn squash stored in temperatures under 50 to 60 degrees in dry conditions can last a month. You can store the cooked squash for 2 to 5 days without spoiling, and frozen and canned squashes you can hold on to for about a year.

Acorn Squash Consumption Limits

Some bitter acorn squashes contain toxic substances such as E cucurbitacin, which causes food poisoning and can cause toxic squash syndrome. Excess consumption of acorn squares can also cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dizziness, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and hair loss. Hence, including at least ½ cup a day or at least 7 cups per week is beneficial for a healthy diet.

Who shouldn’t eat?

Excess consumption of acorn squash during pregnancy can cause antioxidative stress by neutralising harmful chemical toxins known as free radicals. Moreover, it may cause severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion and food poisoning. 

Conclusion

Acorn squash is a beneficial winter vegetable rich in essential micro and macronutrients such as potassium, copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, beta-carotene, dietary fibres, and zinc. It plays a significant role in a healthy and balanced diet.

Brightly coloured acorn squash adds impressive colour, flavour, and remarkable variety to the diet in sweet, savoury, spicy dishes. It is also available in canned and frozen forms. In addition, Acorn squash helps reduce IBS symptoms (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and promotes good health. So you must add Acorn squash to your diet for better health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What are acorn squash good for?

A. Acorn squash is rich in essential nutrients, and antioxidants help remove free radicals from the body. These antioxidants and minerals like magnesium help prevent diseases like high grouse levels, blood pressure, stroke, heart disorders, and arthritis.

Q. Which is healthier: acorn or butternut squash?

A. Acorn squash is healthier than butternut because of its low carbs. It has more insoluble dietary fibres and minerals than butternut squash. In addition, Acorn squash is an excellent source of potassium compared to butternut squash. 

Q. Which is healthier: acorn squash or sweet potato?

A. Acorn squash is healthier than sweet potato because it has beta-carotene and dietary fibre. Also, it is considered a helpful low-carb vegetable for weight management. 

Q. Can I eat the skin of acorn squash?

A. Yes, acorn squash skin is fibrous and quite tasty to eat. Furthermore, adding fibre to the diet helps decrease IBS symptoms and other digestive disorders. It provides a sense of fullness to the stomach and helps uphold blood sugar levels.

Q. Is acorn squash a healthy vegetable?

A. Acorn squash is rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants that help neutralise free radicals from the body. These antioxidants help prevent diseases like high grouse levels, blood pressure, stroke, heart disorders, and arthritis.

Q. Does squash make you poop?

A. Acorn squash is an excellent source of dietary fibre roughly 1.5g that helps clear the digestive tract, promote bulky stools, and avoid symptoms of constipation.

Q. Is it good to eat squash every day?

A. Yes, acorn squash is rich in antioxidants, helps decrease oxidative stress, and promotes removing toxic substances from the body. Beta-carotene and Vitamin C play significant roles in eye vision and healthy skin.

Q. Is squash a carb or protein?

A. Squash consists of beneficial carbohydrates such as dietary fibre. It will help lessen the symptoms of constipation and other digestive disorders by adding bulk to the diet to provide a sense of fullness to the stomach. However, it is not a rich source of protein. 

Q. Does squash raise blood sugar?

A. This fibre-rich vegetable provides roughly 1.5 grams of fibre, which helps keep blood glucose and cholesterol levels balanced. Plus, acorn squash has no cholesterol and can help lower bad LDL cholesterol. Also, the rind of acorn squash contains insoluble fibres that help keep blood sugar levels stable. Thus, squash is beneficial, and its antioxidative property helps reduce blood glucose. However, excess consumption can cause high blood sugar. 

Q. Are yams and squash the same?

A. Yams and squash are not the same. Yams are monocotyledons, but squashes are dicotyledons. Botanically yams are considered roots, and squashes are considered fruits. Yams consist of more carbohydrates than squashes. 

Q. Can diabetics eat acorn squash?

A. Yes, acorn squash is diabetic-friendly. Squashes are an excellent source of dietary fibres. This helps prevent digestive disorders by adding bulk to the diet, providing a sense of fullness to the stomach, and helping maintain blood sugar levels.

Q. Is acorn squash a complex carb?

A. Acorn squash is a starchy vegetable with more carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and greens. Also, this is because acorn squashes contain complex carbohydrates, high levels of dietary fibre (polysaccharides), and no simple sugars.

Q. Is squash a keto?

A. Although acorn squash is not a rich source of fats and protein, you can add it to the keto diet with a combination of foods like eggs, chicken etc. Keep your total carbohydrate intake between 20 and 30 grams daily to remain in ketosis.

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