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Squash, winter
Squash, winter

What's New and Beneficial about Winter Squash

  • Many people may consider winter squash to be a starchy, high-carb vegetable and not much more. In one very limited respect, this way of thinking about winter squash is correct. One cup of cubed and cooked winter squash (our website serving size) contains 18 grams of carbohydrates, and these carbs account for about 95% of the calories that we get from this vegetable! However, it would be wrong to conclude that this high-carb aspect of winter squash is its primary feature, or that its high-carb nature is a problematic part of its nutritional profile. Despite its high-carb nature, winter squash has recently been shown to help steady the release of sugar inside of our digestive tract after being eaten, and to lessen our overall glycemic response to meals. These findings also match up with studies on the glycemic index (GI) of winter squash. On our website, we report a GI value for winter squash of 51. This value qualifies winter squash as a low-GI vegetable, since the cut-off for low-GI is usually set at 55. In short, despite its high-carb content, winter squash is a vegetable that provides us with health support, including support in the area of sugar metabolism following a meal.
  • The vivid orange flesh of many winter squash varieties is due to their amazing concentration of carotenoids. Among these carotenoids are beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and other carotenoids that can be converted into active forms of vitamin A (retinoids). At WHFoods, winter squash actually makes its way into our Top 10 sources of vitamin A due to its carotenoid richness! In fact, among all 100 of our WHFoods, only sweet potato, carrot, and the green leafy vegetables surpass winter squash in terms of their total carotenoid content. It's worth noting here that for larger and thicker-skinned winter squashes, many people prefer to peel the outer skin due to its potential toughness. (Depending on the specific variety of winter squash and its degree of maturity, however, the outer peel may become reasonably soft if the squash is baked, and may can provide a great nutrient boost if left intact.) Even if winter squashes are peeled, however, they can provide us with great carotenoid richness since their flesh is typically a concentrated source of carotenoids.
  • While we are on the subject of carotenoids, it is important to recognize just how diverse the carotenoids in winter squashes truly are. Alongside of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, recent studies have confirmed the presence of the following carotenoids in different varieties of winter squash: auroxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, flavoxanthin, luteoxanthin, neoxanthin, neurosporene, phytofluene, taraxanthin, violaxanthin, and zeaxanthin. That's a dozen different carotenoids in winter squashes! Each of these winter squash carotenoids has been shown to have antioxidant properties—even though researchers continue to explore different roles for these different winter squash carotenoids in different body systems.
  • Recent studies have paid special attention to the unique pectin content of winter squash. Pectin is a type of fiber naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. (Many people are familiar with pectin as a pre-packaged ingredient that is used to help thicken jams and jellies. However, even this pre-packaged form of pectin typically comes from fruit, especially apples.) The pectin in winter squash makes an important contribution to its fiber content and is one of the reasons that this vegetable achieves a fiber ranking of "very good" in our WHFoods rating system. Pectin in winter squash also helps explain its low GI value and the ability of winter squash to help regulate release of sugar into our digestive tract following a meal. Scientists have linked these health benefits with the unique structure of pectin, and especially its galacturonans. It's also worth noting in this regard that pectin intake has been associated with greater feelings of satiety following intake of pectin-rich foods. While we haven't seen studies specific to winter squash in this regard, we would fully expect the findings for winter squash to be very similar to the findings for other pectin-rich foods.
  • Based on recent studies, you can feel good about storing winter squash over a fairly extended period of time. In several studies, researchers have observed actual increases in carotenoid content in the fleshy portion of winter squash following long-term storage of about 6 months. It's not yet clear how this increase takes place. Carotenoids may migrate from the outer areas of the winter squash into the flesh, and enzyme activity may also be involved in synthesis of new carotenoids. In either case, longer-term storage of winter squash is not something you need to avoid, provided it is done properly. In most studies, storage in a steady temperature range of 50-68°F (10-20°C) provides an optimal condition—which means that you'll want to store your winter squash somewhere outside of the refrigerator. (However, once cut into sections or cubes, you'll want to refrigerate and use within a period of several days.)

    WHFoods Recommendations

    Because most varieties of winter squash are characterized by their rich orange flesh, our recommendations for winter squash intake are based on our recommendations for yellow/orange vegetables. At WHFoods, our minimum daily goal for vegetable intake from the yellow/orange subgroup is 1/2 cup per day. A more optimal intake level would be one cup per day. Alongside of winter squash, yellow/orange vegetables like sweet potato, carrots, and yellow bell peppers can contribute to your daily intake from this yellow/orange subgroup.

    Winter Squash, cubed, cooked
    1.00 cup
    (205.00 grams)
    Calories: 76
    GI: low

    NutrientDRI/DV



     fiber23%



     copper19%




     folate10%






    This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Squash, winter provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Squash, winter can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Squash, winter, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

    Health Benefits

    Broad-based Nutrient Support from Winter Squash

    Enjoyment of winter squash can help boost your nutrient intake in every major nutrient category. Among the macronutrients, you get about one-fourth of our daily recommended fiber from a single one-cup serving. You also get about 10% of our daily recommended intake level for a very important type of fat—namely, omega-3 fat—from this same one-cup serving. On our website, 27 of 100 foods rank as excellent, very good, or good sources of omega-3s. Among these 27 foods most concentrated in omega-3s, winter squash ranks 13th!

    In the vitamin category, B vitamins are a winter squash specialty. Here we are talking about the role of winter squash as a very good source of vitamin B6, and a good source of vitamin B2, vitamin B3, folate, and pantothenic acid. Also important to mention in this vitamin category is vitamin C, which winter squash provides in a very good amount; and of course vitamin A, which winter squash provides in an excellent amount due to its rich array of carotenoids. Vitamin K is also provided in a good amount by winter squash.

    One final piece of information in this vitamin category for winter squash involves its vitamin E content. While present in exceedingly small amounts in the flesh of winter squash, more substantial amounts of vitamin E are provided by the seeds of this vegetable. Included here are the members of the vitamin E family known as the gamma-tocopherols. These important forms of vitamin E are one reason to consider saving and lightly roasting the seeds of winter squash if you decide to scoop them out of this vegetable before cooking. We've found that an oven temperature of 160-170°F (about 71-77°C) for 15-20 minutes works well for this purpose. We've also found it helpful to make a single layer of the winter squash seeds across a cookie sheet when preparing the seeds for light roasting.

    Minerals provided by winter squash also play an important role in its nutrient benefits. This vegetable achieves rankings of very good for manganese and copper, and ranking of good for potassium and magnesium. Smaller amounts of zinc, iron, and calcium are also provided by winter squash.

    In terms of phytonutrients, the star quality of winter squash is definitely its carotenoids. The carotenoid-richness of winter squash is responsible for the placement of this vegetable in our WHFoods Top 10 for vitamin A. While the carotenoids beta-carotene and alpha-carotene usually account for the greater percentage of carotenoids in winter squash (especially in those varieties belonging to the Cucurbita moschata genus/species), the complete list of identified carotenoids in winter squash is a long one and spotlight carotenoids are listed below:

    • alpha-carotene
    • auroxanthin
    • beta-carotene
    • beta-cryptoxanthin
    • flavoxanthin
    • luteoxanthin
    • neoxanthin
    • neurosporene
    • phytofluene
    • taraxanthin
    • violaxanthin
    • zeaxanthin

    Studies have also confirmed the presence of antioxidant phenols in winter squash, including lignans like secoisolariciresinol. In terms of quantity, the amount of total phenols in winter squash usually ranges from 25-80 milligrams of total phenols (when measured as chlorogenic acid equivalents) in about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fresh, uncooked winter squash.

    When all of these nutrient categories are combined—macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients—what you end up with is very broad-based nutrient support from a vegetable that is all-too-often overlooked as too starchy and high-carb to be providing such comprehensive nutrient benefits.

    Blood Sugar-Related Benefits from Winter Squash

    Over recent years, several areas of nutritional research have overlapped to provide us with a clearer view of winter squash and its impact on our blood sugar. Winter squash has long been established as vegetable with a low or medium glycemic index (GI) value. The difference between medium GI and low GI depends on the GI cut point of 55 that is typically used to differentiate between low and medium GI. We've seen studies on winter squash that show GI values between 55-65 as well as studies that show lower GI values between 50-55. At WHFoods, we classify winter squash as a low-GI food based on a value of 51 that we believe best corresponds to our preferred method of cooking winter squash—namely, short-term steaming (7 minutes). It is worth noting here, however, that many factors that can influence the GI value for winter squash, including the variety of winter squash, season of harvest, length of storage, preparation method, and cooking method. Whatever the factors involved, however, it's clear that winter squash scores lower on the GI scale than other equivalently starchy vegetables (for example, potatoes). Its lower GI values make winter squash a vegetable that is relatively easy on our post-consumption blood sugar levels and beneficial in this regard.

    In fact, recent studies have shown that winter squash can help steady the release of sugar inside of our digestive tract after being eaten. (Researchers refer to this set of events as "post-prandial glycemic response.") Scientists are not yet completely certain about the reasons for this blood sugar-related benefit. But one key to this blood-sugar benefit may involve the pectin content of winter squash.

    Pectin is an unusual fiber component that is built around special molecules called galacturonans. Galacturonans are polysaccharide-like molecules that contribute to the cell wall structure in many plants. The key galacturonans in pectin are homogalacturonan, rhamnogalacturonan, arabinogalacturonan, and xylogalacturonan. (In fact, these molecules are often referred to as the "pectic polysaccharides.") Research on pectin has shown it to have antidiabetic properties and to help lower the release of sugar from our food into our digestive tract following a meal. This research makes the pectin in winter squash a very likely candidate for the blood sugar-related benefits from this vegetable.

    Yet, it's also important not to lose the forest through the trees here. As mentioned previously, winter squash achieves a ranking of "very good" in our WHFoods rating system and provides us with nearly 6 grams of fiber per cooked cup! Pectin definitely makes an important contribution to this total fiber content. At the same time, we would expect most foods that rank as "very good" fiber sources to be helpful foods for regulating blood sugar since fiber intake has long been known to help steady digestion and sugar metabolism in our digestive tract.

    Before leaving this area of blood sugar benefits, it's also important to mention the great B-vitamin profile of winter squash. We're talking about a vegetable that we recognize as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B2, vitamin B3, folate, and pantothenic acid. These B vitamins play important roles in carbohydrate metabolism and are likely to provide us with blood sugar-related benefits for this reason.

    Other Potential Health Benefits from Winter Squash

    Because winter squash is a vegetable that has not been studied extensively by food and health researchers, we only have bits and pieces of research evidence for other potential benefits from winter squash.

    Several factors combine to suggest that winter squash may be a vegetable that provides us with important antioxidant benefits. These factors include its very good level of vitamin C, the vitamin E contained in its seeds, and of course its amazing carotenoid richness. Added to these factors would be its total phenol content and its antioxidant-related minerals including manganese and copper. However, we have yet to see any large-scale human studies that specifically link intake of winter squash to antioxidant benefits in the body. We fully expect future studies to demonstrate these benefits, however. In parts of the world where intake of winter squash plays an especially prominent role in overall food intake, these antioxidant benefits might be of special importance.

    As described earlier, pectic polysaccharides are naturally occurring food fibers known to help benefit blood sugar events following a meal. These polysaccharides have also been shown to help increase satiety (food satisfaction after eating) and also to help lower total blood cholesterol levels. However, research studies have yet to clarify exactly how much food-based pectin would be needed to help lower total cholesterol levels over time. We suspect that future studies will show intake of winter squash to be helpful in this regard, but perhaps in an intermediate way.

    The omega-3 fatty acids provided by winter squash—together with its carotenoids and phenols—also make anti-inflammatory benefits from this vegetable a distinct possibility. However, large-scale human studies are definitely needed in this area.

    Description

    At the very outset of this Description section, we want to address the very name that is used to describe this vegetable—namely, winter squash. This name is simple and practical. But at the same time, it is somewhat misleading. Winter squash is not grown in the winter, nor harvested in the winter, nor primarily consumed in the winter.

    What is true about winter squash is the longer growing season that it requires. Summer squash typically requires about 50–70 days of growth. Winter squash typically require about 90–120 days. This difference means that summer squash can be planted in the spring and harvested in the summer, while winter squash can also be planted in the spring yet it's not harvested until the fall. In other words, while summer squash can be freshly harvested and available in the summer, winter squash cannot; this difference lends some credence to the term "summer squash." But it doesn't help explain why we use "winter" to describe "winter squash."

    Use of the word "winter" requires us to consider another typical difference between summer and winter squashes—namely, the thickness of their skins. While there is no hard and fast rule here, winter squashes are typically larger and have thicker skins than summer squashes. (Although some squashes often classified as winter squashes—for example, delicata squash—don't always fit this description.) Delicata is a variety of winter squash that can have a thinner and more tender skin than most winter squash varieties, even though it still typically requires a long growing season of about 110 days. Yet many familiar winter squash varieties—including butternut and hubbard—typically have thick skins. These thick skins allow winter squashes to be stored over a much longer period of time than summer squashes. We're talking about several months for winter squashes and perhaps a week or so for summer squashes. As a result, winter squashes can be stored over the winter months after being harvested in the fall: thus contributing to the use of "winter" in their name.

    Some winter squash varieties grow on bushes, while others grown on vines. The difference here usually involves the final size and weight of the winter squashes at harvest. (The larger and heavier winter squashes need to rest on the ground, while the smaller-sized winter squashes can be supported growing on a bush.) The largest winter squashes that most people are familiar with in the U.S. are winter squashes typically just called "pumpkins." In some countries, the terms "winter squash" and "pumpkin" are used much more interchangeably than they are in the United States. But regardless of the terminology, we are talking about bush-grown or vine-grown vegetables that all share roughly similar nutrient profiles and health benefits.

    The term "winter squash" does not refer to any single type of plant but to a very large and diverse plant family. At WHFoods, we think about winter squash as including many different varieties sometimes recognized by different colors, outer skin textures, overall size, or overall shape. Below is a list of different winter squash varieties with a brief description of each variety:

    • Butternut is one of the most familiar winter squashes, featuring a large bell-shaped bottom section and a slimmer, tapering neck. We often recognize butternut by its tannish color. The orange/yellow flesh of butternut is known for its sweet flavor.
    • Acorn is named for its acorn-like shape and relatively small size. It is usually a rich, non-shiny green on the outside and its flesh is more mildly-flavored than many of its fellow winter squashes.
    • Kabocha and Red Kabocha are winter squash varieties that look partly flattened. Kabocha squash features a mottled white green skin with vertical pale greenish-white stripes. Red kabocha squash features a similar shape, with a reddish-orange skin, little mottling, and sometimes vertical white stripes that are barely visible. Some writers describe the taste of kabocha squash as "savory," with red kabocha usually being described as sweeter than its fellow kabocha.
    • Buttercup is a winter squash variety that is similar to the kabocha varieties in terms of shape and size. The bottom side of buttercup squash can sometimes feature a distinct circular area and bump that is often referred to as a "turban." The flesh of this winter squash is typically described as mild to very mild.
    • Spaghetti is a winter squash variety known for its distinct oblong shape and the fact that its flesh—once cooked—tends to separate into long thread-like pieces when scraped with a knife, fork, or spoon. These long thread-like pieces explain how this winter squash variety got its name. Many spaghetti-squash lovers use this winter squash in place of pasta in noodle-requiring recipes.
    • Blue Hubbard is a grayish-blue skinned variety of winter squash that comes in a variety of sizes, from fairly small to extremely large. The outer skin is recognizable not only for its distinct grayish-blue color but also for its bumpy texture.
    • Delicata is treated by many people as falling somewhere in between a summer and winter squash variety owing to its thinner and more tender skin. In addition, its pale yellow skin—which serves as a backdrop for green stripes and/or green mottling—is somewhat in keeping with the familiar yellow shading of the summer squashes. We've also heard delicata being referred to as "sweet potato squash," and many recipes feature this exact combination: delicata winter squash and sweet potatoes.

    Other winter squash varieties include carnival squash, red kuri squash, sugar pumpkin squash, and sweet dumpling squash. And of course, what are commonly called "pumpkins" in the U.S. are considered varieties of winter squash.

    From a science perspective, all of the winter squash varieties above belong to one of three botanical genus/species:

    • Cucurbita pepo (subspecies pepo): varieties in this genus/species/subspecies include acorn, delicata, and spaghetti squash
    • Cucurbita maxima: varieties in this genus/species include buttercup, Hubbard, and kubocha
    • Cucurbita moschata varieties in this genus/species include butternut and winter crookneck

    From this science perspective, it's also worth noting that you find summer squash varieties in each of these genus/species, making the research on summer and winter squash varieties both confusing and in some cases overlapping.

    Both winter and summer squash varieties belong to the general plant family known as the Cucurbitaceae. This plant family is famous not only for squashes, gourds, and pumpkins, but for other popular foods as well. For example, watermelons, honeydew melons, crenshaw melons, and casaba melons are members of the Cucurbitaceae family. And so are cucumbers!

    Before leaving this Description section, we want to post a reminder: when you are enjoying the beautiful orange shades of the flesh of your winter squashes, remember that you are getting amazing carotenoid benefits since carotenoids are responsible for this flesh color. From the deepest oranges to the paler yellows, winter squashes are providing you with a diversity of carotenoids that make them the Number 10 food on our website for vitamin A richness!

    History

    Scientists have traced the origins of winter squash to what is called a "center of diversity" in what is now Mexico. However, wild species of winter squash (belonging to all three genus/species groups, namely, Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata) have been discovered as far south as southern Argentina. Butternut squashes and other members of the Cucurbita moschata group seem to have flourished especially in northwestern South America including Columbia and Peru, while varieties like Hubbard and kabocha seem to have favored the southern portion of South American in Argentina. Not surprisingly, winter squashes have played a historically important role in the cuisines of South America as well as Central America and the southernmost regions of what is now the United States. In addition to playing a direct role as vegetables enjoyed on their own, winter squashes have also traditionally served as the key ingredient in soups, pies, and casseroles.

    It's worth noting that winter squashes were anything but an optional food or "interesting vegetable alternative" in the development of many cuisines throughout South and Central and North America. Instead, winter squashes were been heavily relied on as staple foods and essential for attainment of both calories and nutrients. Early domestication of winter squashes—dating as far back as 10,000 years—showed the unique ability of squash plants to develop larger-sized fruits, resulting in some of the very large Hubbard winter squashes that are grown today. The larger-sized winter squashes were perfect for increasing available calories and nutrients, especially during the winter months that followed fall harvests. Here the historical record provides us a very helpful reminder: winter squashes are vegetables that we ourselves can rely on for key nutrients and health benefits, especially when we do not have peak season summer vegetables available.

    Squashes (including both winter and summer squashes) are popular foods in the United States, which presently imports more squash than any country in the world. (Over 90% of current squash imports into the U.S. come from Mexico.) Within the U.S., California, Florida, Georgia and Michigan grow the largest volume of squashes (including both summer and winter squash). To give you a better idea of this amount, over 400 million pounds of squash were produced in the U.S. in 2016. On a worldwide basis, the largest winter squash-producing countries in the world are China and India, followed by the Ukraine.

    How to Select and Store

    Winter squash is easily prone to decay, so it is important to carefully inspect it before purchase. Choose ones that are firm, heavy for their size and have dull, not glossy, rinds. The rind should be relatively hard since soft rinds may indicate that the squash is watery and lacking in flavor. Avoid those with any signs of decay, which manifest as areas that are water-soaked or moldy.

    At WHFoods, we encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and winter squash are no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including winter squash. In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells winter squash but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown winter squash is very likely to be winter squash that display the USDA organic logo.

    Winter squash has a much longer storage life than summer squash. Depending upon the specific variety and other factors, winter squash can be safely stored for a minimum of one week, and more likely for much longer. It's not uncommon to find winter squash being successfully and safely stored for a period of up to six months. Research studies show that the flesh of winter squash can actually increase its concentration of carotenoids during storage. In short, if you find it convenient to buy and store winter squash, by all means do so! In most studies, storage in a steady temperature range of 50-68°F (10-20°C) has been show to provide an optimal temperature condition. So you'll want to store your winter squash somewhere outside of the refrigerator—for example, inside a cabinet that is near the stove or a heater or exposed to a lot of direct sunlight.

    Once your winter squash has been cut, however, cover the pieces in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for one or two days. One good way to freeze winter squash is to first cut it into pieces of suitable size for individual recipes.

    Tips for Preparing and Cooking

    Tips for Preparing Winter Squash

    Rinse winter squash under cold running water before cutting. Whether your winter squash needs peeling before steaming depends on the variety, maturity at harvest, thickness of skin, and your personal preference for both texture and toughness. At WHFoods, we typically do not peel kabocha, butternut, or delicata winter squashes before steaming. But once again, we realize that taste and texture preferences here will vary from person to person. If you do decide to peel your winter squash, you can do so with either a potato peeler or a knife, depending on the peel thickness and toughness.

    At WHFoods, we typically do not peel any winter squash varieties if we are going to bake them in the oven. However, once again, we realize that personal preferences will play a role here. To bake your winter squash without peeling, simply cut the ends off, cut the squash in half lengthwise down the middle, scoop out the seeds and bake. Alternatively you can leave the squash whole, pierce a few times with a fork or tip of a paring knife, bake and scoop out the seeds after it has been cooked. You can peel cooked squash easily with a knife and then cut into pieces of desired size.

    Butternut squash has a unique shape that requires a special approach to cutting. To cut into cubes, it is best to first cut it in half between the neck and bulb. This makes peeling it much easier. Cut bulb in half and scoop out seeds. Slice into 1-inch slices and make 1-inch cuts across slices for 1-inch cubes. This is the best size and shape for steaming.

    Save the winter squash seeds that you scoop out! Seeds from winter squash can make a great snack food, and can be prepared in the same way as pumpkin seeds. Once scooped out from inside the squash and separated from the pulp, you can place the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet and lightly roast them at 160-170°F (71-77°C) ) in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

    The Nutrient-Rich Way of Cooking Winter Squash

    Our favorite way to prepare winter squash is to steam it as it takes such a short period of time. At WHFoods, we prefer to steam 1-inch cubes of squash. The preparation for this is described above. For most types of squash you only need to steam these cubes for 7 minutes.

    How to Enjoy

    A Few Quick Serving Ideas

    • Top puréed cooked winter squash with cinnamon and maple syrup.
    • Steam cubes of winter squash and then dress with olive oil, soy sauce, ginger and pumpkin seeds.
    • Top "strings" of spaghetti squash with pasta sauce.
    • Add cubes of winter squash to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.

    WHFoods Recipes That Feature Winter Squash

    If you'd like even more recipes and ways to prepare winter squash the Nutrient-Rich Way, you may want to explore The World's Healthiest Foods book.

    Nutritional Profile

    When you think about winter squash and its rich orange and yellow flesh tones, think carotenoids! Most winter squash varieties have amazing carotenoid-richness. Twelve different carotenoids have been well-studied in winter squash, including, of course, beta-carotene. Because of its carotenoid richness, winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A (and our tenth best sourse of this vitamin at WHFoods). It is also a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, manganese, and copper. Winter squash is a good source of vitamin B2 and B3, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium. The seeds of winter squash can also provide is with a valuable amount of vitamin E.

    Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

    In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.

    Winter Squash, cubed, cooked
    1.00 cup
    205.00 grams
    Calories: 76
    GI: low
    NutrientAmountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Nutrient
    Density
    World's Healthiest
    Foods Rating
    vitamin A535.36 mcg RAE5914.1excellent
    vitamin C19.68 mg266.2very good
    fiber5.74 g235.4very good
    vitamin B60.33 mg194.6very good
    manganese0.38 mg194.5very good
    copper0.17 mg194.5very good
    potassium494.05 mg143.3good
    vitamin B20.14 mg112.6good
    folate41.00 mcg102.4good
    vitamin K9.02 mcg102.4good
    pantothenic acid0.48 mg102.3good
    omega-3 fats0.19 g81.9good
    magnesium26.65 mg71.6good
    vitamin B31.01 mg61.5good
    World's Healthiest
    Foods Rating
    Rule
    excellent DRI/DV>=75% OR
    Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
    very good DRI/DV>=50% OR
    Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
    good DRI/DV>=25% OR
    Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%

    In-Depth Nutritional Profile

    In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, here is an in-depth nutritional profile for Squash, winter. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

    Winter Squash, cubed, cooked
    (Note: "--" indicates data unavailable)
    1.00 cup
    (205.00 g)
    GI: low
    BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
    nutrientamountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Protein1.82 g4
    Carbohydrates18.14 g8
    Fat - total0.72 g--
    Dietary Fiber5.74 g23
    Calories75.854
    MACRONUTRIENT AND CALORIE DETAIL
    nutrientamountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Carbohydrate:
    Starch-- g
    Total Sugars6.76 g
    Monosaccharides-- g
    Fructose-- g
    Glucose-- g
    Galactose-- g
    Disaccharides-- g
    Lactose-- g
    Maltose-- g
    Sucrose-- g
    Soluble Fiber0.61 g
    Insoluble Fiber5.13 g
    Other Carbohydrates5.64 g
    Fat:
    Monounsaturated Fat0.05 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat0.30 g
    Saturated Fat0.15 g
    Trans Fat0.00 g
    Calories from Fat6.46
    Calories from Saturated Fat1.33
    Calories from Trans Fat0.00
    Cholesterol0.00 mg
    Water182.88 g
    MICRONUTRIENTS
    nutrientamountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Vitamins
    Water-Soluble Vitamins
    B-Complex Vitamins
    Vitamin B10.03 mg3
    Vitamin B20.14 mg11
    Vitamin B31.01 mg6
    Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)1.46 mg
    Vitamin B60.33 mg19
    Vitamin B120.00 mcg0
    Biotin-- mcg--
    Choline21.73 mg5
    Folate41.00 mcg10
    Folate (DFE)41.00 mcg
    Folate (food)41.00 mcg
    Pantothenic Acid0.48 mg10
    Vitamin C19.68 mg26
    Fat-Soluble Vitamins
    Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)
    Vitamin A International Units (IU)10707.15 IU
    Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE)535.36 mcg (RAE)59
    Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)1070.71 mcg (RE)
    Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)0.00 mcg (RE)
    Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)1070.71 mcg (RE)
    Alpha-Carotene1398.10 mcg
    Beta-Carotene5725.65 mcg
    Beta-Carotene Equivalents6424.70 mcg
    Cryptoxanthin0.00 mcg
    Lutein and Zeaxanthin2900.75 mcg
    Lycopene0.00 mcg
    Vitamin D
    Vitamin D International Units (IU)0.00 IU0
    Vitamin D mcg0.00 mcg
    Vitamin E
    Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE)0.25 mg (ATE)2
    Vitamin E International Units (IU)0.37 IU
    Vitamin E mg0.25 mg
    Vitamin K9.02 mcg10
    Minerals
    nutrientamountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Boron-- mcg
    Calcium45.10 mg5
    Chloride-- mg
    Chromium-- mcg--
    Copper0.17 mg19
    Fluoride-- mg--
    Iodine-- mcg--
    Iron0.90 mg5
    Magnesium26.65 mg7
    Manganese0.38 mg19
    Molybdenum-- mcg--
    Phosphorus38.95 mg6
    Potassium494.05 mg14
    Selenium0.82 mcg1
    Sodium2.05 mg0
    Zinc0.45 mg4
    INDIVIDUAL FATTY ACIDS
    nutrientamountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.19 g8
    Omega-6 Fatty Acids0.11 g
    Monounsaturated Fats
    14:1 Myristoleic0.00 g
    15:1 Pentadecenoic0.00 g
    16:1 Palmitol0.00 g
    17:1 Heptadecenoic0.00 g
    18:1 Oleic0.05 g
    20:1 Eicosenoic0.00 g
    22:1 Erucic0.00 g
    24:1 Nervonic0.00 g
    Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
    18:2 Linoleic0.11 g
    18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA)-- g
    18:3 Linolenic0.19 g
    18:4 Stearidonic0.00 g
    20:3 Eicosatrienoic0.00 g
    20:4 Arachidonic0.00 g
    20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)0.00 g
    22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA)0.00 g
    22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)0.00 g
    Saturated Fatty Acids
    4:0 Butyric0.00 g
    6:0 Caproic0.00 g
    8:0 Caprylic0.00 g
    10:0 Capric0.00 g
    12:0 Lauric0.00 g
    14:0 Myristic0.00 g
    15:0 Pentadecanoic0.00 g
    16:0 Palmitic0.13 g
    17:0 Margaric0.00 g
    18:0 Stearic0.01 g
    20:0 Arachidic0.00 g
    22:0 Behenate0.00 g
    24:0 Lignoceric0.00 g
    INDIVIDUAL AMINO ACIDS
    nutrientamountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Alanine0.08 g
    Arginine0.10 g
    Aspartic Acid0.19 g
    Cysteine0.02 g
    Glutamic Acid0.32 g
    Glycine0.07 g
    Histidine0.03 g
    Isoleucine0.07 g
    Leucine0.10 g
    Lysine0.07 g
    Methionine0.02 g
    Phenylalanine0.07 g
    Proline0.07 g
    Serine0.07 g
    Threonine0.06 g
    Tryptophan0.03 g
    Tyrosine0.06 g
    Valine0.08 g
    OTHER COMPONENTS
    nutrientamountDRI/DV
    (%)
    Ash1.41 g
    Organic Acids (Total)-- g
    Acetic Acid-- g
    Citric Acid-- g
    Lactic Acid-- g
    Malic Acid-- g
    Taurine-- g
    Sugar Alcohols (Total)-- g
    Glycerol-- g
    Inositol-- g
    Mannitol-- g
    Sorbitol-- g
    Xylitol-- g
    Artificial Sweeteners (Total)-- mg
    Aspartame-- mg
    Saccharin-- mg
    Alcohol0.00 g
    Caffeine0.00 mg

    Note:

    The nutrient profiles provided in this website are derived from The Food Processor, Version 10.12.0, ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon, USA. Among the 50,000+ food items in the master database and 163 nutritional components per item, specific nutrient values were frequently missing from any particular food item. We chose the designation "--" to represent those nutrients for which no value was included in this version of the database.

    References

    • Bahado-Singh PS, Wheatley AO et al. Food processing methods influence the glycaemic indices of some commonly eaten West Indian carbohydrate-rich foods. Br J Nutr. 2006 Sep;96(3):476-81. 2006
    • Bahramsoltani R, Farzaei MH, Abdolghaffari AH, et al. Evaluation of phytochemicals, antioxidant and burn wound healing activities of Cucurbita moschata Duchesne fruit peel. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2017 Jul;20(7):798-805.
    • Buchanan AL, Kolb LN, and Hooks CRR. Can winter cover crops influence weed density and diversity in a reduced tillage vegetable system? Crop Protection, Volume 90, December 2016, pages 9-16.
    • Choi H, Eo H, Park K et al. A water-soluble extract from Cucurbita moschata shows anti-obesity effects by controlling lipid metabolism in a high fat diet-induced obesity mouse model. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Aug 3;359(3):419-25. Epub 2007 May 25. Erratum in: Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Feb 1;366(1):269. 2007.
    • Conti S, Villari G, Amico E, et al. Effects of production system and transplanting time on yield, quality and antioxidant content of organic winter squash (Cucurbita moschata Duch.) Scientia Horticulturae, Volume 183, 12 February 2015, pages 136-143.
    • Geisler M. (2014). Squash. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University, Ames, IO. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Program.
    • Jacobo-Valenzuela NB, Marostica-Junior R, Zazueta-Morales JdJ, et al. Physicochemical, technological properties, and health-benefits of Cucurbita moschata Duchense vs. Cehualca: A ReviewReview Article Food Research International, Volume 44, Issue 9, November 2011, pages 2587-2593.
    • Jaswir I, Shahidan N, Othman R, et al. Effects of season and storage period on accumulation of individual carotenoids in pumpkin flesh (Cucurbita moschata). J Oleo Sci. 2014;63(8):761-7.
    • Kates HR, Soltis PS, and Soltis DE. Evolutionary and domestication history of Cucurbita (pumpkin and squash) species inferred from 44 nuclear loci. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2017 Jun;111:98-109.
    • Kim HY, Nam SY, Yang SY, et al. Cucurbita moschata Duch. and its active component, β-carotene effectively promote the immune responses through the activation of splenocytes and macrophages. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2016 Oct;38(5):319-26.
    • Konopacka D, Seroczynska A, Korzeniewska A, et al. Studies on the usefulness of Cucurbita maxima for the production of ready-to-eat dried vegetable snacks with a high carotenoid content. LWT - Food Science and Technology, Volume 43, Issue 2, March 2010, pages 302-309.
    • Nara K, Yamaguchi A, Maeda N et al. Antioxidative activity of water soluble polysaccharide in pumpkin fruits (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Jun;73(6):1416-8. Epub 2009 Jun 7. 2009.
    • Priori D, Valduga E, Villela JCB, et al. Characterization of bioactive compounds, antioxidant activity and minerals in landraces of pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) cultivated in Southern Brazil. Food Science and Technology (Campinas), 2017, 37, 1, pages 33-40.
    • Priyadarshani AM and Chandrika UG. Content and in-vitro accessibility of pro-vitamin A carotenoids from Sri Lankan cooked non-leafy vegetables and their estimated contribution to vitamin A requirement. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2007 Dec;58(8):659-667. 2007.
    • Ratnayake RM, Sims IM, Newman RH, et al. Effects of cooking on the cell walls (dietary fiber) of 'Scarlet Warren' winter squash ( Cucurbita maxima ) studied by polysaccharide linkage analysis and solid-state (13)C NMR. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jul 13;59 (13):7186-93.
    • Zaccari F, Cabrera MC, and Saadoun A. Foods. Glucose Content and In Vitro Bioaccessibility in Sweet Potato and Winter Squash Varieties during Storage. 2017 Jun 30;6(7).
    • Zaccari F and Galietta G. alpha-Carotene and beta-Carotene Content in Raw and Cooked Pulp of Three Mature Stage Winter Squash "Type Butternut". Foods. 2015 Sep 18;4(3):477-486.
    • Zhang X, Wang X, Chen N, et al. Pectin — accumulation during winter squash growth and differences among varieties. Scientia Horticulturae, Volume 179, 24 November 2014, pages 46-50.

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