Butternut squash is an orange-fleshed winter squash, celebrated for its versatility and sweet, nutty flavor.
Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, butternut squash is technically a fruit.
It has many culinary uses and makes a great addition to many sweet and savory recipes.
Butternut squash is not only tasty but also packs a punch of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
This article tells you everything you need to know about butternut squash, including its nutrition, health benefits, and how to add it to your diet.
Though you can eat butternut squash raw, this winter squash is commonly roasted or baked.
One cup (205 grams) of cooked butternut squash provides (1):
- Calories: 82
- Carbs: 22 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Vitamin A: 457% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 52% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 13% of the RDI
- Thiamine (B1): 10% of the RDI
- Niacin (B3): 10% of the RDI
- Pyridoxine (B6): 13% of the RDI
- Folate (B9): 10% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 15% of the RDI
- Potassium: 17% of the RDI
- Manganese: 18% of the RDI
As you can see, butternut squash is low in calories but loaded with important nutrients.
Aside from the vitamins and minerals listed above, it’s also a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and copper.
SUMMARYButternut squash is low in calories but high in many nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
Butternut squash is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals.
A one-cup (205-gram) serving of cooked butternut squash provides more than 450% of the RDI for vitamin A and over 50% of the RDI for vitamin C (1).
It’s also rich in carotenoids — including beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha-carotene — which are plant pigments that give butternut squash its bright color.
These compounds are provitamin A carotenoids, meaning your body converts them into retinal and retinoic acid — the active forms of vitamin A (2).
Vitamin A is essential for regulating cell growth, eye health, bone health, and immune function (3).
Additionally, it’s vital for fetal growth and development, making it an important vitamin for mothers-to-be.
Butternut squash is also rich in vitamin C — a water-soluble nutrient needed for immune function, collagen synthesis, wound healing, and tissue repair (4).
Both vitamins A and C work as potent antioxidants in your body, protecting your cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant in butternut squash that helps protect against free radical damage and may reduce your risk of age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease (5).
This winter squash is also packed with B vitamins — including folate and B6 — which your body needs for energy and red blood cell formation.