1.Winter squash contains polysaccharides
Polysaccharides are long chains of saccharides.
Saccharides include fructose, glucose, lactose, carbohydrates and fiber (also a carbohydrate, but one that the body can't break down).
Polysaccharides can be used to build structure.
Many plant cell walls are made from polysaccharides. When you eat the plant, your body uses the polysaccharides for energy or to help you feel full.
They can also be used to store energy.
Your body can build polysaccharides called glycogen. This glycogen is an energy reserve that can be used faster than the normal process of obtaining energy from the break down of ATP.
Starch is a polysaccharide.
Plants store energy in starch. When you eat starch, your body converts the starch to glucose.
Cellulose is another polysaccharide.
Cellulose is what trees and paper are made of. Humans lack the ability to digest cellulose.
Take Away: Polysaccharides help your body build structures like cells, and store energy for cell use.
2. Winter squash provides you with pectin.
Pectin is a water soluble fiber.
This means that it soaks up water from your body. As it does, it becomes a thick, gel-like substance. It also locks up other liquids from the body, such as bile.
It may help lower cholesterol.
Your body makes bile in order to help digest your food. When your body absorbs the food, it reabsorbs bile. When the bile is locked up by water soluble fiber, your body is forced to make more bile. Your liver pulls cholesterol from your blood in order to make bile.
It could help keep you safe from colon cancer.
Fiber removes toxins from your intestines – toxins that can attack the cells that make up the lining in your gut. Repeated attacks can cause cells to mutate and become cancerous. Colon cancer can be fatal if not caught early enough.
Soluble fiber helps stabilize your blood sugar levels.
When you have a stable supply of glucose, your energy stays at a much more constant level. This helps you have the energy you need to work all day long.
It slows down how quickly your stomach empties.
When your stomach is full, it sends signals to the brain and you don't feel hungry. By slowing the process down, you can feel fuller longer and you won't be tempted to eat as much.
Take Away: Pectin can help you to clear your system of bad cholesterol, and may help you to eat fewer calories.
3. Squash contains alpha-carotene.
Alpha-carotene is a strong antioxidant.
In fact, studies are finding that it's an even stronger antioxidant than beta-carotene. You need antioxidants in order to minimize the damage that free radicals can do to your cells and tissues. Your body makes free radicals, and you get them from the environment – they are everywhere.
Antioxidants bind free radicals.
Free radicals are missing an electron and need one in order to become balanced. Antioxidants have an electron to share and form a covalent (shared electron) bond with these free radicals. Covalent bonds are one of the strongest atomic bonds.
Free radicals damage your body.
When free radicals come into contact with cells and tissues in your body, they steal an electron from your body parts. This stripping out of an electron can cause cells and tissues to begin to mutate, eventually causing cancer. Another outcome is that the injured cell becomes inflamed, causing a host of other issues.
The body can convert alpha carotene into vitamin A.
Your body needs a certain amount of vitamin A, but it can't store too much of it, because high levels of vitamin A are toxic. Your body solves this problem by converting alpha-carotene and beta-carotene (both of which it can store safely) into vitamin A when more is needed.
Lightly steaming squash helps your body absorb the alpha-carotene.
High temperatures can destroy the alpha-carotene.
Studies have found that steamed vegetables provide a greater boost of alpha-carotene than do raw vegetables, because it's easier for your body to pull out the carotene from the steamed vegetable.
Take Away: Squash helps your body free itself from devastating attacks by free radicals.
4. Squash contains manganese.
Manganese helps your body metabolize fats.
Fats burn slower than carbohydrates, giving you a longer lasting supply of energy. This can help you even out the amount of energy you have so that you don't have bursts of energy, followed by periods of no energy.
It helps your body use carbohydrates.
When your body needs a quick burst of energy, carbohydrates can give them to you. Your body can convert carbs into glucose at a very rapid pace.
It helps your body with glucose.
Manganese helps your cells burn glucose, as well as use it to build ATP with. ATP is how your cells store energy within their structures for later use.
You need it for healthy bones.
Healthy bones help protect you against injury and disease. Your blood cells are produced by the marrow that's located inside of your bones. Strong bones are harder to break and can support more weight.
Manganese is important for glandular function.
Your glands produce hormones. Hormones are specialized chemicals that trigger many of your body's functions, such as metabolism, hunger response, heart rate, and brain function.
Take Away: Squash can help you have energy, build strong bones, and boost your hormones.
5. You get lutein from squash.
Lutein helps prevent cataracts.
Most cataracts start developing in people who are over 40 years old, but they can strike anyone. Cataracts can make you go blind, making it so that you can't drive or do other things that you once enjoyed.
It can keep macular degeneration away.
Macular degeneration is when the part responsible for clear vision in the center of your retina deteriorates, leaving without the ability to focus on anything.
Lutein helps to reduce eye fatigue.
After a long day, or as you age, your eyes can get tired and they begin to hurt. Getting lutein can help reduce the strain on your eyes, and help them not bother you.
It also helps to cut down on glare sensitivity.
When you have this condition, going anywhere with bright lights, shopping malls, the movie theater, going into sunlight, can cause a pain in your eyes that ranges from dull to sharp and stabbing.
It helps your brain to process visual information.
Lutein helps your brain make sense of the information that it's getting from your eyes. It helps you correctly identify colors, shapes, and distances.
Take Away: Eating squash is good for your vision.
6.Squash can help protect your from pollutants and chemicals.
Squash is high in beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is easily converted into vitamin A. It also helps protect your body from the free radicals that are caused by pollution and chemicals.
Both pollution and chemicals are a part of modern life.
Cars, trucks, factories, restaurants, farmers, and many others release smoke, toxins, carbon dioxide, and chemicals into the environment. These pollutants and chemicals get concentrated in our water supplies and air. We breathe them in, we eat them, and we drink them.
You cells can begin to mutate when exposed to these toxins.
Toxins collect in your body, growing in number as your body tries to remove them. The toxins come into contact with your cells and make them sick. Some toxins carry a great deal of energy, some of which gets transferred into your cells, causing your cells to start changing, doing damage to your DNA.
Mutant cells can begin to grow quickly.
The growth inhibitors of these mutant cells get destroyed and the cells begin to divide, growing rapidly. They release chemicals into the blood stream.
These mutant cells can cause other cells to mutate.
The chemicals invade other cells, turning off their growth inhibitors as well and a tumor starts to form. These chemicals can travel to other spots in the body, causing new tumor growth far away from the original location.
Take Away: Eating squash can help protect your from cancer.
7. Eating squash can help control the symptoms of PMS.
PMS can cause breast pain.
When PMS strikes, breast pain can flair. This pain usually goes away once the menstrual period has passed. The pain can cycle again each month, striking as early as two weeks before the cycle starts again.
It can cause cravings for food.
Unlike pregnancy, which usually causes cravings for certain foods, PMS can cause you to have a ravenous appetite, giving you a craving for all foods.
You may suffer from cramping.
Your guts may feel as though they are being twisted beyond recognition. Your uterus may feel as though its crushed into a tight ball. It may become difficult to breathe, move, or concentrate due to the intense pain.
You may experience heavier bleeding that lasts for as long as a week.
This type of bleeding doesn't come early, but strikes during your period.
You may suffer from mood swings.
PMS can wreak havoc on your hormones, causing massive mood swings. These swings may start about two weeks before your period and last for a few days afterward. You may have an uncontrollable urge to cry or to yell. You may feel hopeless. You may well feel suddenly giddy.
Take Away: PMS can make you very miserable. Eating squash may help you find relief.
8. Eating squash can help keep you hydrated.
Squash can be up to about 95% water.
Summer squash contains more water than winter squash (about 95% water). When you eat squash this water is released into your intestines and is absorbed into your blood stream. Because your body needs to break down the squash, this will help control the flow of water into your body.
Your brain is mostly water.
In fact, it's almost 75% water. When you are low on water, you can get a headache, feel disoriented, and have trouble making decisions. If you get dehydrated enough, your words may begin to get slurred and you might have trouble talking.
The symptoms of a hangover are caused by dehydration.
Severe dehydration can lead to death.
You need water for good blood flow.
When your water levels get too low, your blood thickens and your heart has to pump extra hard to push your blood through.
Dehydration can cause you to feel ill.
When you get dehydrated your stomach can cramp, your heart can race, and you can feel run down.
It can interrupt your brain functioning.
Since your brain is primarily water, when you get dehydrated, it can begin to shrink and it can stop working right. It may interfere with your ability to hold a conversation, to follow instructions, and to make decisions.
Take Away: Squash can help keep from becoming dehydrated.
9. You can use the entire plant.
You can eat the skin.
Most of a fruit's nutrients are located in the skin, or in the layer just below the skin.
You can eat the seeds.
Most fruits have seeds that are too hard or too bitter to eat. Some even carry poisonous substances, like the apple seed. Members of the squash family don't have this problem. In fact, many people love to roast these seeds and eat them as a healthy snack.
You can eat the leaves.
You can't eat most leaves from fruit bearing plants – they just don't taste good. Squash leaves should be lightly sauteed before you eat them, because they have tiny thorn-like protrusions to discourage pests. Cooking these leaves removes these thorn-like attachments.
You can eat the stem.
Add the stems to soups and stews for a change of pace.
You can replant the roots.
If you are careful to preserve the roots when you harvest the plants, you can replant them and have new plants grow.
Take Away: Squash can feed you very well, year after year.
10. The seeds make a great snack.
The seeds can treat gastritis.
Gastritis is any of a group of ailments that cause the lining of the stomach to become inflamed. It is usually caused by the H. pylori bacteria (which also causes stomach ulcers).
They help lower stress.
Stress increases blood pressure, causes heightened inflammation, contributes to both heart disease and stroke, and can cause damage to your brain and other organs.
They may control anxiety.
These seeds contain L. tryptophan, which has been used to treat anxiety. Anxiety can cause panic attacks and can induce obsessive thoughts about impending doom.
You can use extract from the seeds to sanitize.
These extracts have been shown to be effective in killing germs, bacteria, molds, and fungus.
The seeds can help boost your libido.
If your love life needs a boost, eating squash seeds can help do the trick. This can help elevate your interest and desire.
Take Away: Squash seeds can have a powerful effect in your life.
11. Eating squash can help you grow healthy hair.
Hair can break.
Exposure to the elements can damage your hair. When enough damaged hair strands break, it can leave your hair looking uneven and unkempt.
Split ends are a common problem.
Split ends have a tendency to fly away, leaving the appearance of having your hair unbrushed. Split ends can also get tangled into knots more easily than thicker hair, making your hair much more difficult to manage.
Hair becomes thinner as we age.
As you get older, each strand of hair begins to lose its fulness and body and can begin to look limp and lifeless. After a time, skin can start showing through your hair, which can lead to getting sunburned on the top of your head.
Baldness can be a problem.
When too many hairs have stopped growing, patches with no hair can develop. Many men suffer from this fate (and some women too).
Hair can help define who we are.
For many, the way their hair looks is a reflection on the image they wish to project to those around them. Baldness damages this image.