Squash is commonly known in the United States as the various types of winter squashes like Big Max pumpkins, ambercup, hubbard and buttercup squashes which are only gathered when fully ripe. Back then, the crop was kept for extended periods in the basement for purposes of guaranteeing food supply during the cold months, hence the name winter squash. While no doubt a nutritious vegetable, eating squash in reasonable amounts is still recommended for a number of reasons.
Continue reading and discover more about the pros and cons of squash and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this vegetable.
Squash is, first and foremost, a rich source of carbohydrates, with half a cup of cooked squash consisting roughly 38 calories. The same half-cup serving of squash has a glycemic index (GI) of 75 as well. At first glance, squash appears to be an unsuitable food for those who need to carefully control their blood glucose levels, like individuals with diabetes, for instance. It is crucial to note though that while high in both carbohydrates and GI, squash contains polysaccharides. The latter were found in a 2005 study to have anti-diabetic effects by simultaneously increasing serum insulin levels, reducing blood glucose levels, and overall improving tolerance to glucose, in diabetes-induced rats administered with polysaccharides from squash.
The anti-diabetic properties of squash are further confirmed in a 2006 study. As it turns out, this vegetable, specifically Malabar squash, contains measurable amounts of D-chiro-inositol (D-CI), which functions by reducing blood glucose levels in the body. Not only were the blood glucose levels of diabetes-induced rats reduced after a thirty-day administration of this vegetable’s extract, but their tolerance to blood glucose significantly improved as well. Furthermore, the polysaccharides in squash were found in a 2009 study as efficient scavengers of free radicals, and so this vegetable is an anti-oxidant food, too, much like starch-rich crops like potatoes and yams.
Squash, specifically of the Cucurbita moschata species, some of which include butternut and Naples squash, as well as cheese pumpkin, was found in a Korea-based study to contain PG105. The latter is a water-soluble extract which shows potential for dietary approaches to treating obesity. As it turns out, PG105 inhibits the development of fatty liver and improves the fatty acid breakdown in rats purposely kept at a high-fat diet.
Squash generally has a high GI. Individuals who are concerned about this must first consult their physicians prior to integrating squash into their diet. Pairing squash with a high-protein, high-fiber food is also recommended as such a combination takes longer to digest and so won’t considerably impact blood glucose levels.
Squash, as a non-food crop, is planted to rehabilitate soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which cause cancer, mutations, and birth defects in humans and animals. These PAHs are naturally transferred to the squash, and subsequently to those who ingest the latter.
Squash Practical Uses:
Maximize the healthful goodness of squash by steaming thinly sliced pieces in a food steamer for seven minutes. You can then puree these with garlic in a food processor for a delectable soup. You can sprinkle finely chopped fresh coriander or your herb of choice prior to serving.
You’d want to minimize dietary exposure to PAHs as well. It is for this reason buying certified organic squash is of utmost importance as the latter has most likely been grown in soil that doesn’t have alarming levels of PAHs contamination.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of zucchini and how to moderately use it in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the vegetables on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• Bok Choy
Also avoid if autoimmune disease or nightshade sensitivity:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of squash, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of squash.