Butternut Squash

Butternut squash

Botanically, Butternut squash belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family of field pumpkins, probably originated in the Central American region.

Butternut squash is the most popular among winter squash varieties. Oftentimes, the squash is recognized as a large pear shaped golden-yellow Pumpkin fruit, which is put for sale in the markets. They usually cultivated in warmer climates of South and Central American regions for their edible fruits, flowers, as well as seeds. Butternut squash seeds are used as nutritious snack food since they contain 35-40% oil and 30% protein.

Interiorly, its flesh is yellow to orange in color. Cross-section of lower bulb part feature central hollow cavity containing mesh-like mucilaginous fibers interspersed with large, flat, elliptical seeds similar to Pepita (pumpkin seeds). Externally, the squash is better described as large-sized fruit featuring thick neck attached to a pear-shaped bottom and has smooth, ribbed skin. However, the fruit varies widely in its shape and size, with individual fruit may weigh up to 15 kg. The fruit’s unique golden-yellow color comes from yellow-orange pigments in their skin and pulp.

The nutritional and therapeutic value of Butternut squash

Butternut squash contains many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins. Similar to other Cucurbitaceae members, this too is one of the low-calorie vegetables, which provides just 45 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, is rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients. Squash is one of the common vegetables that often recommended by dieticians in the cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.

Butternut squash has similar mineral profile as that in pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like Iron, Zinc, Copper, Calcium, Potassium, and Phosphorus.

Butternut squash has more Vitamin A than that in pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the Cucurbitaceae family with the highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good eye-sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protected against lung and oral cavity cancers.

Butternut squash is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, Niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid. Furthermore, it has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like α and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein. These compounds convert to vitamin A inside the body and deliver same protective functions of vitamin A on the body.

The seeds of Butternut squash are a good source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids that benefit for heart health. In addition, they are rich in protein, minerals, and numerous health-benefiting vitamins. The seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid, tryptophan. Tryptophan converts to health benefiting GABA neuro-chemical in the brain.

Nutrition Information:

Squash, winter, butternut, raw
Unit Value
per 100.0g
Water g 86.41
Energy kcal 45
Protein g 1.00
Total lipid (fat) g 0.10
Carbohydrate, by difference g 11.69
Fiber, total dietary g 2.0
Sugars, total g 2.20
Calcium, Ca mg 48
Iron, Fe mg 0.70
Magnesium, Mg mg 34
Phosphorus, P mg 33
Potassium, K mg 352
Sodium, Na mg 4
Zinc, Zn mg 0.15
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 21.0
Thiamin mg 0.100
Riboflavin mg 0.020
Niacin mg 1.200
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.154
Folate, DFE µg 27
Vitamin B-12 µg 0.00
Vitamin A, RAE µg 532
Vitamin A, IU IU 10630
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 1.44
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) µg 0.0
Vitamin D IU 0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) µg 1.1
Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.021
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0.007
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.042
Cholesterol mg 0
Caffeine mg 0
Tips: For more detailed information, please visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food & Nutrition Center.

One Response to Butternut Squash

  1. elizabeth thelen says:

    thank you; i’m looking for fat foods that burn fat

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