Like other vegetables harvested in the fall, such as potatoes and parsnips, winter squash are starchy and filling, but their brightly colored flesh is a clear sign that they are also especially nutritious. There are many varieties of squash, each with a slightly different nutritional value, but they all have some things in common: all squash contain beta-carotene, other carotenes, and carotenoids. Carotenes and carotenoids give squash their yellow, orange, and green hues, as well as their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. Our bodies can also convert carotenes into vitamin A, another important antioxidant and immune-boosting nutrient. In addition, squash contain vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins, manganese, copper, and potassium. And don’t throw away the seeds—just a quarter cup of roasted squash seeds provides more than half of the magnesium and all of the zinc you need for a day, as well as some omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, selenium, chromium, and iron.
Although they are high in carbohydrates, they are a rich source of fiber and have a relatively low glycemic load. Both squash fruit and squash seeds have been found to be helpful for managing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Researchers think that fibers in squash fruits may have special insulin-sensitizing properties that may be partly responsible for their blood sugar-lowering effects.
Source: Nutrition Research Reviews