Spaghetti squash is low in fat and zero cholesterol, rich in vitamin C, high in potassium, a good source of dietary fibre, helpls in bone and muscle maintenance, prevents common cold, boosts immune system, maintains blood pressure and also rich in folate.
Spaghetti Squash is a type of winter squash that belongs to the same plant family of pumpkin and zucchini, that is, Cucurbitaceae. Spaghetti Squash is different from the types of Buttercup, Acorn and other popular forms of summer and winter squashes simply because of its texture and colour. With a pale yellow-ivory colour, this particular squash when cooked, becomes stringy in texture, resembling pasta spaghetti. Spaghetti Squash, even though used as a vegetable, is actually a fruit for it comes with seeds in it.
Often referred to as ‘vegetable-pasta’, Spaghetti Squash with its thick noodle-like strands, is a healthier alternative to cereal-based noodles, and can be a great substitute, especially when your child is allergic to gluten. With its ability to pick up flavours, it also adds nutrition to your otherwise regular dish of spaghetti. You could substitute for pre-packaged spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash and make some delicious snacking items!
The best part about Spaghetti Squash is its texture- the noodle-like strands could add a hint of fun to your regular salads. Combining it with other starchy vegetables like potatoes, you could replace the favourite spaghetti and meatballs from your child’s diet with a healthier spaghetti squash dish. And here are 11 reasons as to why adding Spaghetti Squash to your child’s diet is a good option.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Low in fat and zero cholesterol
Like most of other squashes, spaghetti squash has very little amounts of fat and no traces of cholesterol. It is also rich in omega-3, omega-6 and other fatty acids that are good for health. These forms of polyunsaturated fats support cardiovascular health, cognitive health and brain development. It also supports the development of the brain, eyes and nerves in children up to 12 years of age. This serves all the more reason to include spaghetti squash in your regular pasta meals.
Rich in vitamin C
Spaghetti squash is a rich source of vitamin c. Unlike other vitamins that can be consumed directly, human beings are unable to synthesize vitamin c endogenously. Therefore, vitamin c needs to form an essential component of one’s diet to fully utilise the benefits of the same. The human body needs vitamin c to form collagen, which is required to strengthen bones and tissues. It also helps to keep your child’s teeth and gums strong and healthy.
A water-rich food
We all know that summers mean two things- keeping your child hydrated and making snacks to support their growing appetite after a hard day’s play. While running after your active kids to make sure that they drink plenty of water, you could simply add water-rich foods to his or her diet. And spaghetti squash is one such food. Being a water-rich fruit, the high-water content can be useful to hydrate your child and keep his body cool through his diet. This comes handy, especially during warm summers when your child will spend a lot of time playing in the heat.
High in potassium
Spaghetti squash is rich in potassium, which is considered to be one of the seven essential macromineral- meaning that the body needs a certain amount of potassium to keep its processes active. It helps in keeping a balance between the acids and bases in the body. The problem with this water-soluble electrolyte is that it is easily lost in sweat, especially among active kids and needs to be replenished frequently. Potassium is crucial to maintain body fluid balance and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
A source of dietary fibre
Spaghetti squash has a fair amount of dietary fibre, comprising of 2.2gm for a serving of 100gm per cup. The american heart association reported that children often do not consume the recommended amount of dietary fibre, which helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and maintains low cholesterol. But most importantly, dietary fibre is one of the natural ways to further bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Helps in bone and muscle maintenance
Spaghetti squash is rich in calcium and potassium. Calcium is a significant part of bone-formation, and doctors suggest a healthy consumption of calcium from childhood and early adolescence to increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Potassium on the other hand, helps to maintain an alkaline environment in the body, preventing acidosis that can deplete bone mineral density and muscle wasting. A potassium-rich diet, including spaghetti squash, thus helps in preserving muscle mass. The vitamin c in spaghetti squash also helps in the absorption of iron, whose demand increases with the rapid growth of your child.
Spaghetti squash is not only rich in vitamin c, but also contains amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is known that vitamin c can limit the formation of carcinogens in one’s body. In fact, studies have shown that the risk of cancer lowers significantly when there is a healthier consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin c. Omega-3 fats can prevent in inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases. The inclusion of spaghetti squash could just be a step towards building protecting your kids from cancer.
Reports from the US department of health and human services suggest that a healthy inclusion of vitamin c in one’s diet helps in preventing common cold, and can even reduce the severity of common cold. Given that spaghetti squash is rich in vitamin c, it helps in maintaining immune responses and plays a role in the management of the upper respiratory tract. This could be a great addition to your child’s diet in the winters, which is when spaghetti squash is widely available.
Spaghetti squash has ample amounts of beta-carotene, a form of vitamin a. Given the anti-oxidant properties of vitamin a, it helps to protect cells from damage caused from oxidation. Such protection helps to keep away degenerative diseases and illnesses in the form of measles and diarrhoea. It also helps to maintain skin, soft tissues and mucous membranes. Vitamin c, having anti-oxidant properties, also helps in booting immunity. Spaghetti squash also contains amounts of manganese and potassium which helps to build a strong immunity front from within. Unless your pasta is cooked with spinach and other vegetables, most of these nutrients would go amiss from your kid’s meal.
Maintains blood pressure
Given that children are often prone towards consuming junk food, they not only consume a significant amount of fat and cholesterol but also high amounts of sodium, which increases blood pressure. This worsens with a low-potassium diet, as potassium is able to counter the effects of sodium in the body. Spaghetti squash is rich in potassium, and along with low amounts of sodium, can deter the effects of junk food on your child’s health.
Rich in folate
Folate is a form of vitamin b, and occurs naturally in spaghetti squash. Folate is often consumed as folic acid in the form of dietary supplements and fortified foods. It is an essential component required by the body to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, produce rna and dna in the body and to convert carbohydrates to produce energy. In fact, folate occurs naturally in not all vegetables, and most manufacturers are required to add folic acid to food items. However, spaghetti squash is one of such foods, and one should definitely make it an important part of their child’s diet
Clearly, Spaghetti Squash is not merely delectable, but is water-rich and contains numerous nutrients that aids in your child’s healthy growth and development. It is not only rich in vitamin A and C and B-6, but it also contains important minerals like potassium and manganese that is crucial for your child’s health. A natural source of folate, it helps in the formation of new blood cells while aiding in bone growth and development. With the added benefits of boosting your child’s immunity, it makes for a great substitute for pre-packaged pasta and spaghetti.
But most importantly, this fruit is free of hassles because it can be stored at room temperature for weeks at stretch. While this fruit can be baked, boiled, steamed and even microwaved to make it edible, its seeds can be roasted, just like pumpkin seeds, adding more uses to this wonder-fruit. Spaghetti Squash can be served plain, or with a variety of sauces, and can even be added to soups and stews. The versatility of Spaghetti Squash also makes sure that you don’t run out of ideas to prepare healthy yet delicious dishes for your young ones.