Acorn squash contains vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine and vitamin B-6, but it is an especially good source of vitamin C.
A 1/2-cup serving of cooked, cubed acorn squash provides approximately 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for healthy adults following a 2,000-calorie diet.
Adequate vitamin C intake promotes the health of the immune and skeletal systems and may help prevent hypertension, heart disease, cancer and osteoarthritis.
The vitamin C content of foods is degraded by exposure to air, light, heat and water.
To maximize the amount of vitamin C you receive from acorn squash, use the vegetable three to four days after purchase and cut it only right before cooking. Steam or bake the squash instead of boiling it to keep vitamin C from being lost in the cooking water.
Each 1/2-cup serving of acorn squash contains 13 percent of the recommended daily allowance of potassium and 11 percent of the RDA of magnesium.
As both a mineral and an electrolyte, potassium plays a vital role in muscle contraction and in maintaining the body's water balance. Magnesium regulates potassium levels, strengthens bones and teeth and aids in proper energy metabolism.
Regularly eating potassium- and magnesium-rich foods like acorn squash can lessen your chance of stroke, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes. Acorn squash also contains small amounts of iron, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.
Acorn squash provides 5 grams of dietary fiber in every 1/2-cup serving, an amount that fulfills 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber. The majority of acorn squash's fiber is soluble fiber.
According to the Mayo Clinic this type of fiber helps regulate blood levels of both glucose and cholesterol. In 2009, an article published in “Nutrition Reviews” summarized current dietary fiber research and concluded that a diet containing fiber-rich foods like acorn squash could help prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal disorders.
The American Dietetic Association lists winter squash as one of the best sources of the antioxidant beta carotene. Antioxidants are compounds that can prevent cellular and DNA damage by inhibiting the activity of unstable free radicals.
A high intake of antioxidant-rich foods is linked to a lower risk of cancer, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that may specifically support eye health and prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
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