The Scoop On Squash
Like most naturopathic doctors (and, well, most people in the health and wellness community), I’m a big fan of veggies. And even though I love almost all of them, I have to say that there are few veggies as versatile as squash.
Note: I can hear some of you saying, “But Dr. Kellyann, squash is actually a fruit.” Hang tight. I’m getting to that.
Back to my squash spiel…
Squash comes in many varieties, can be cooked numerous ways, and can be used in tons of dishes. It’s full of essential nutrients and is incredibly tasty when prepared well. It’s a superstar food that’s so great, it’s worthy of its own post here. So let’s dive in and get the skinny on squash.
Is Squash A Fruit Or A Vegetable
Though it has a savory taste, like a vegetable, squash contains seeds and comes from a flower. So, botanically, it’s considered a fruit. But since it’s most often used in the same ways other veggies are, I am perfectly okay with you calling it a veggie. I just had to set the record straight: squash is actually a fruit.
Types Of Squash
There are two main categories of squash:
Summer Squash, which are harvested when immature. Their skin is tender and full of flavor, and, most of the time, is eaten along with the flesh.
Examples of summer squash include:
- Yellow Squash
- Pattypan Squash
- Zephyr Squash
Winter Squash, which usually has a thicker, tougher skin that allows it to stay hardy through frost and colder temperatures.
Examples of winter squash include:
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Delicata Squash
- Kabocha Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
Health Benefits Of Squash
Okay, now that we know what’s what in the world of squash, let’s talk about how healthy squash is! Here are some of the nutrients found in squash:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
Here are just a few reasons why these nutrients matter:
- Beta-carotene supports eye health and helps protect the skin from sun exposure
- Vitamin C is important for growing and repairing cell tissue
- Fiber aids in digestion and may help you achieve a healthy weight
- Antioxidants play a role in reducing oxidative stress
- Magnesium and calcium are essential for bone health
- Iron helps with energy, focus, and immune support
- Vitamin A aids your vision, growth, cell division, reproduction, and immune response
- Vitamin B6 is an essential part of nearly 200 chemical reactions in your body
Squash Fun Fact
According to Organic Facts, not only is squash one of the largest groups of food, they are also some of the oldest cultivated crops on Earth. Archaeological data can trace their origins back to 10,000 years ago! See? Even your ancient ancestors knew how healthy and divine squash is.
Some Of My Favorite Squash Recipes
If you’re not already incorporating this healthy and delicious food into your diet, check out these yummy squash recipes. You can find them — plus hundreds more soups, main dishes, side dishes, smoothies, and desserts — in the recipe section of my blog.
Bacon Butternut Squash Soup
Apple Kabocha Squash Soup
Sausage and Squash Breakfast Hash
Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs