October: Spaghetti Squash

by Emma Newell

Most of the population has never heard of spaghetti squash. If you have but you’re like me, you may have been a little apprehensive to try it. You’re probably be wondering, “How does this actually compare with my beloved spaghetti?”

I’m here to let you know that even though replacing pasta can seem unthinkable – you may want to try picking up this delicious fall veggie next time you’re at the store!

  1. Spaghetti squash packs an impressive amount of fiber. Most Americans don’t consume the recommended dose of fiber. Increased fiber consumption has been linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, can lower cholesterol. Higher fiber intake has also been linked to weight reduction by helping you feel fuller longer. This yellow veggie contains 2.2 g of fiber, which is about 9% of the RDA per 1 cup serving1.
  2. A daily dose could help fight cancer. Vitamins and minerals are essential to good health, so it’s good thing to hear that you can get a few vital micronutrients by enjoying some delicious spaghetti squash! Notably it’s high in, Vitamin C, A, K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid1. A report from Colorado State University even states that a serving of this squash could be more beneficial than taking a vitamin supplement due to the fact that the vitamins are working together, making them function more efficiently2. Researchers even state that there are protective effects of diets rich in fruits and vegetables against the fight on cancer3. So make sure to fill your plate up!
  3. It’s loaded with bone building properties. Spaghetti squash’s impressive vitamin content isn’t the only thing it has going for it! 1 cup of spaghetti squash also contains over NINE minerals that are vital for bone health. The one present in the highest concentration is manganese. Manganese has been linked to its contribution in creation of health bone structure, boosting metabolism and helping to prevent osteoporosis.
  4. It can fill up your plate without adding calories. Each cup cooked of spaghetti squash contains only 42 calories (approximate 1.5% of a typical 2000 calorie diet)1. This is a very drastic difference between the 220 calories in a cup of regular whole wheat pasta, saving you about 178 every time you make the switch. So, if you’re looking for a legitimate pasta substitution it may be in the produce aisle.
  5. It’s not just a pasta substitute. Many people only associate this delicious vegetable with a low-cal take on a classic Italian dish, but it can be so much more than that. You can add spaghetti squash into a variety of different dishes to boost your nutritional intake. Try it the next time you make a quiche or frittata, or blend it into soups or savory sauces to add some texture and flavor!

References:

  1. USDA Database. USDA. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/. Accessed September 2017.
  2. Bellows L, Moore R. Dietary Supplements: Vitamins and Minerals. Colorado State University. http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/dietary-supplements-vitamins-and-minerals-9-338/. Published September 2013. Accessed September 2017.
  3. Johnson, I. Phytochemicals and cancer. The Nutrition Society 2007; 2: 207-215.
  4. Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute: Manganese. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/manganese. Reviewed March 2010. Accessed September 2017.
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