Can you eat butternut squash raw?
In this article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat butternut squash raw?”. Moreover, we will also talk about whether you can eat butternut squash raw, its nutritive value, benefits, and risks associated with eating butternut squash raw.
Can you eat butternut squash raw?
Yes, you can eat butternut squash raw. However, Both raw and cooked butternut squash offer considerable health benefits.
Butternut squash is one of the varieties of winter squash or pumpkin and is rich in several important nutritive compounds that are needed by the body and for which different supplementation medicines are available (1).
Butternut squash is sweet, and it tastes like sweet potatoes, while some people say that it also tastes like butterscotch. As it is denser and has more pulp, it can serve more as compared to other varieties of squash.
Raw butternut squash is good for eating and can be used as a salad. It can add more flavor to the salad and can also be used in combination with other food materials as well.
What are the nutritional benefits of raw butternut squash?
Butternut squash is rich in nutrients and is good food to maintain the normal functioning of the body. Eating butternut squash in its raw form will help one benefit more (2).
Butternut squash not only has good taste but is also packed with several important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. The fruit is fully packed with nutrients while being low in calories (1).
One cup of butternut squash contains sixty-three calories and a total of 0.1g fat, of which saturated and trans fats account for 0 percent. It does not contain cholesterol, but it does contain sodium 5.6 mg, potassium 492.8 mg, and carbohydrate 16.4 g (3).
Among the total amount of carbohydrates, 2.8 g is dietary fiber, and sugar is 3.1 g. The protein content of the butternut squash is 1.4 g.
Including all the nutrients mentioned above, butternut squash raw also contains some amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, pantothenic acid, iron, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, and copper.
What are the health benefits of raw butternut squash?
Butternut squash can help in lowering the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. Butternut squash also plays a role in increasing complexion, energy, and weight.
Potassium is important to maintain healthy blood pressure. More potassium in the diet will also reduce the risk of death because more potassium and less sodium will prevent any type of stroke and all cardiovascular diseases (3).
Butternut squash is orange in color, so it contains beta carotene, which is an antioxidant, so consuming butternut squash raw will reduce the risk of asthma. As beta-carotene is an antioxidant so it will also help to lower the risk of cancer as antioxidants fight against free radicals, which can cause cancer (1).
Butternut squash contains fiber, so consuming it in its raw form helps in maintaining normal digestion and bowel movements. Soluble fiber helps to soften stool and increase its bulk, which helps it to move through the digestive tract more easily (2).
It is also good for diabetic people. After all, it prevents sugar levels from rising because it has a low glycemic index. However, the glycemic index will vary according to the cooking method. But it’s safe to consume moderately for people with diabetes.
Are there any potential risks associated with eating raw butternut squash?
As with any raw vegetable, eating it raw also puts you in danger of consuming harmful bacteria, as raw produce is more likely to contain bacteria like E. coli or salmonella (5).
Wash the green squash completely with cold water while cleaning the skin with a gentle rub to decrease the danger of food poisoning. Scrubbing the green squash before using it can help reduce microorganisms as well as pesticide residue on the skin. Eat organic green squash to reduce the danger of pesticide residue (4).
Raw butternut squash might be tough to digest due to its dense and fibrous texture. Furthermore, butternut squash includes cucurbitacins, which are natural chemicals that create a bitter, awful taste.
What are the benefits of cooking raw butternut squash?
Raw green squash is a nutritious vegetable that can be a great addition to a healthy diet. However, cooking green squash can offer several benefits that raw green squash may not provide. One of the benefits of cooking green squash is that it can enhance the vegetable’s natural flavor.
Additionally, cooking green squash might boost the bioavailability of certain minerals, such as beta-carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A. This can make it easier for the body to absorb and use these nutrients (7).
Most of this risk can be minimized by cooking butternut squash before consuming it raw, as the heat from cooking will soften the texture and minimize the taste of cucurbitacins. This will make food easier to digest and consume, as well as eliminate any microorganisms present (6).
Conversely, boiling butternut squash results in the loss of water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and vitamin B6. Green squash can lose nutrients when cooked at high temperatures or for an extended period of time (8).
When should you not eat butternut squash?
It is typically advised not to eat butternut squash if it has begun to soften or exhibits signs of decomposition, such as black areas, discoloration, or mold.
Furthermore, squash should not be consumed if it has been kept out of the refrigerator for an extended period, as this might lead to bacterial contamination. If you are unsure about the freshness of the butternut squash, throw it (5).
How to store raw butternut squash?
Butternut squash can be stored for up to three months, while some varieties can be stored for six months. The best temperature for their storage is 10 degrees Celsius with fifty percent humidity. They should be left for two months after their harvesting to get the best results (4).
In this article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat butternut squash raw?”. We have also discussed whether you can eat butternut squash raw, its nutritive value, benefits, and risks associated with eating butternut squash raw.
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- Zaccari F, Galietta G. α-Carotene and β-Carotene Content in Raw and Cooked Pulp of Three Mature Stage Winter Squash “Type Butternut.” Foods. 2015;4(3).
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- Dai S, Wang C, Zhao XT, Ma C, Fu K, Liu Y, et al. Cucurbitacin B: A review of its pharmacology, toxicity, and pharmacokinetics. Vol. 187, Pharmacological Research. 2023.
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