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8 Good Things About Butternut Squash You Need To Know

8 Good Things About Butternut Squash You Need To Know

Butternut squash, a sort of “kissing cousin” to cucumbers and melons, is a cream-colored vegetable with a deep orange flesh, shaped roughly like a bell. It was only introduced to America in 1944, but since then has become prized for its delicious flavor as well as its health benefits, including those listed below.

1. You Will Load Up on Carotenoids

Say what?! Carotenoids are important antioxidants that come in many forms. When you load your plate up with butternut squash, you will be taking in four different kinds of antioxidants: alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The first two will be converted to vitamin A by your body, and the second two will be taken up by your eyes to promote good vision and avoid serious diseases like cataracts.

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2. You Will Get Plenty of Fiber

Butternut squash is great because it contains soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are very healthy for your body. Insoluble fiber helps to cleanse the digestive tract and bulks up stool to make constipation less likely. Soluble fiber is also important because it helps the body maintain steady blood sugar levels by breaking down carbohydrates more slowly. Because of this important quality, squashes and other high-fiber veggies are considered to be good for a diabetic diet.

3. You Will Load up on Electrolytes as Well

Electrolytes don’t just come from sports drinks. You can also replace them with food as well. Butternut squash is rich in three of the most important electrolytes: potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Among their many other tasks, electrolytes help to keep the balance of fluids in the body, as well as helping keep muscles and nerves healthy. In one serving of butternut squash, you will get 10% of your potassium, 11% of your magnesium, and 6% of your calcium for the day.

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4. You Will be Getting Lots of Vitamin C

Even people who don’t know a lot about nutrition know how healthy vitamin C  is for your body. It is an antioxidant, which means that it reduces oxidative stress on the cells and can even help to slow down the aging process. Antioxidants also decrease the chance of cell mutations that can eventually lead to cancer. A single serving of butternut squash will give you between 32 and 39% of all the vitamin C you need for the day.

5. You Will Be Getting a Healthy Snack

Not only can you feast upon the squash itself, you can also remove the seeds and roast them for a delicious and incredibly healthy snack. Butternut squash seeds are not only high in protein and fiber, they also contain compounds like oleic acid, which can be found in olive oil, and has been proven to be very heart-healthy.

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6. You Will Get Lots of B-Vitamins Too

B-vitamins are also incredibly important for your health, especially the health of your central nervous system. Loading up on squash can help keep your B-vitamin levels in a healthy range, providing you with 19% of B6, 11% of B2, and 6% of B3 for the day.

7. You Will Reduce Inflammation Throughout Your Body

Why does butternut squash help to reduce inflammation? Because it is rich in several different compounds that have been proven to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds include vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids (like the kind found in tuna or salmon), and compounds called cucurbitacins, which have potential anti-cancer benefits as well.

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8. You Will Lose Weight

Butternut squash is considered to be a high-quality food because it gives you a ton of nutrients for only a few calories. These nutrient-dense foods can help satisfy your hunger, making it easier to avoid overeating and thus achieve your weight loss goals. The good news is that this squash is incredibly versatile. It can be made into dozens of simple, healthy, and delicious recipes.

Conclusion

The next time you are in the produce aisle, pick up some butternut squashes and bring them home for dinner. You will not only get a great-tasting meal that your whole family will love, but also all of the important health benefits mentioned here.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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