Updated: Apr 11
Before we get to all of the fabulous health benefits squash provides to the body, a question I want to resolve, "is squash a vegetable?" Like many seed containing foods, such as tomatoes, squash is a fruit! Yet, it is served as a vegetable. It makes sense that squash is a fruit since a lot of squashes are sweet full of flavor like a delicious piece of pineapple. Also, many of the seeds and blossoms can be eaten. I personally love making roasted pumpkin seeds in the fall.
We often eat squash in my household. Some varieties are available year-round, it is usually affordable and easy to cook. The squash category contains a lot of varieties. In fact there are 100 varieties! But there are 15 that are most commonly eaten. There is winter squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, kabocha squash, pattypan squash and chayote squash, just to name a few. Most often I cook zucchini or yellow squash with dinner or lunch. But is squash good for you?
An unhealthy gut causes a wide range of symptoms. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, not being able to sleep, a racing mind and anxiety are just a few of the symptoms. Food is medicine! You can heal your gut by eating foods like squash.
Squash is a healthy fruit served as a vegetable containing many nutrients that heal the gut.
I am a Board Certified Health Coach and Certified Holistic Nutritionist obsessed with teaching others how to create a healthy lifestyle that overcomes the embarrassing symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
At the end, squash recipes to try!
Squash has a lot of health benefits for keeping our gut healthy. Before I get into how good squash is for out gut, how do you know if you have an unhealthy gut? The symptoms are numerous and there may be some you may not realize are caused by an unhealthy gut.
If you suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, lack of energy, moodiness, skin rashes, abdominal pain, anxiety, frequent belching or stomach gurgling, your gut is unhealthy! Heal your gut and overcome these embarrassing symptoms by eating healing plant based foods like squash. Below are the nutrients squash contains to support a healthy gut.
#1 CONTAINS PREBIOTICS
Most of us have heard about probiotics but we aren't as knowledgeable about prebiotics. Prebiotics support the growth of probiotics in our gut. Having prebiotics in our routine helps to support the good bacteria in our gut. The good bacteria in our gut fights pathogens and bad bacteria in our body.
Does squash cause gas? Gas can be an annoyance for many people. The reason squash gas can happen is there is not enough good probiotics in the digestive system. Eating processed foods such as crackers, chips, cookies or fast food, depletes the good bacteria in our body. The result is feeling gassy and bloated. To solve this issue, start to reduce or eliminate the amount of foods that are pre-packaged you eat in a day. By giving your body whole foods, your digestive system will start to heal and the gas will reduce.
#2 HIGH IN FIBER
Squash is a great source of the gut healthy soluble fiber, which makes it an ideal plant based food. A frequent question I often get about squash is: does squash cause gas? Yes, but only if you are not used to eating fiber! Fiber comes from complex carbohydrates, which may be avoided when following some popular diets (such as Keto). If you are used to eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, you should not suffer from excess gas when eating squash. If you do get gas, adding ginger to the squash you are cooking (fresh or dried) will help minimize it. A great way to start the day is eating a warm mash or puree of winter squash with ginger. Ginger is nutrient-packed and contains a lot of soothing soluble fiber.
#3 HIGH IN VITAMIN A
Vitamin A is well known for it's ability to support healthy vision. Did you know vitamin A also supports the immune system of our gut lining? That's right! When we don't have enough vitamin A as part of our health habits, our gut becomes inflamed and is unable to protect us from illness and disease. (Source: Clinical Education) Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, such as squash, helps provide the body with vitamin A.
#4 A GOOD SOURCE OF OMEGA 3
When we think about omega-3 we most often think of fish or flaxseeds. But squash contains a good amount of omega-3 per 1 cup serving. There was a study performed in the UK that showed omega-3 intake is strongly associated with diversity and number of species of healthy bacteria in the gut.
This is important because specific bacteria have been linked to lower inflammation and lower risk of obesity in people who have a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids. A gut that has a lot of good bacteria and a lot of species is the key to overall good health. (Source: Medical News Today)
Eating to be healthy, heal your gut and get rid of embarrassing symptoms, is just one way I've helped people. Not sure how to identify foods for healthy eating? I am here to help!
I am a Board Certified Health Coach and Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering from the embarrassing effects of an unhealthy gut so you can get back to living.
I offer a FREE 30 minute strategy call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and how the Simply Great Gut Health program can help.
Simply Great Gut Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle.
It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
With all of these great gut health benefits, squash is a perfect food to eat as a main meal or a side dish. Below are recipes to try. Simply click on the name of the recipe to be brought to it.
This recipe is so elegant yet flexible. If you want to make it in a casserole dish, that works as well! Full layers of potatoes, butternut squash, kale and cheese makes this dish a perfect Meatless Monday option. If you are vegetarian or vegan, eliminate the cheese or use a non-dairy option. Serve with a salad to get even more gut healthy foods into a single meal. Can butternut squash cause stomach pain? Butternut squash bloating may be a side-effect and can cause stomach pain if your not used to eating a variety of fruits and vegetables regularly. Also, it may act as a laxative. It is a good idea to eat a small amount to see if butternut squash affects you this way.
2) Acorn Squash stuffed with Quinoa from A Thought For Food
Acorn Squash stuffed with Quinoa is so filling that any meat eater would not even know this is a vegan dish. Quinoa is packed with protein and is one of the few grains that is a complete protein. Using quinoa in recipes when eating plant based meals helps keep you fuller longer.
3) Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats from Recipe Runner
This is a great alternative for a low-carb dinner that is filling and flavorful. As Recipe Runner states: you won't even miss the tortilla! Is zucchini gassy when you eat a recipe like this? Since there are many ingredients such as cheese, taco seasoning and ground meat, there may be an ingredient that makes you gassy. One tip is to try it without the cheese if you suffer from gas. If you continue to feel gassy, you may have to eliminate another ingredient in the recipe until you find a combination that works for you. Every body is different so it is important to make substitutes to find what works for you.
4) Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms from Pickled Plum
Spaghetti squash is a perfect substitute for regular pasta. This dish is easy to make and can be served vegetarian like the recipe or add meatballs for a paleo twist. Does spaghetti squash cause gas? It can, if you are not used to eating high fiber foods. If you find you are gassy after eating spaghetti squash, taking a quick walk after eating it can help. Walking is a great way to move the contents in the stomach, helping in the digestion process. Mushrooms are also a great vegetable for supporting a healthy gut. If you want to read more on that topic, visit my blog post on 8 Reasons Mushrooms Are Amazing And Gut Friendly by clicking here.
5) Summer Squash sandwich with Spicy Sun-dried tomato and Herbed Ricotta from Honestly Yum
While this sandwich is really hearty, it can also be paired with either a butternut squash or tomato soup. Can somebody say YUM!!
Squash is so easy to cook in a variety of side-dishes. Roasted, sauteed, fried or baked, squash becomes the perfect accompaniment to any meat, fish or poultry dish. Some of my favorites are below.
Summer Squash & Onions from Spicy Southern Kitchen calls for bacon grease but a healthier option is coconut oil.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary & Balsamic Vinegar from Kalyns Kitchen is quick, easy and flavorful.
Roasted Acorn Squash from Center Cut Cook doesn't use a lot of spices which lets the true flavor of acorn squash come through.
Zucchini Fries from Health.com are baked not fried and you can use egg whites only to cut down on cholesterol content, if that is a concern for you.
Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Fritters from Julia's Album can be a side dish or a main dish or lunch!
I hope this post inspires you to eat more squash. Full of nutrients that support a healthy gut, eating squash regularly will help reduce the embarrassing symptoms of an unhealthy gut. If you need help overcoming your gut health symptoms or are looking to create health habits that will last a lifetime, book your free 30 minute strategy session by clicking here.
Do you think you will eat more squash as part of your health habits? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
About The Author
Heather Donahue is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Certified Holistic Nutritionist. A self-proclaimed wellness geek, Heathers Holistic Health process has helped her personally overcome hypothyroidism, a lifetime of struggles with her weight, constipation and the transition to menopause. She is passionate about helping others achieve their wellness goals so they can live a life they love. When she is not helping others, Heather loves to read, cook, garden, go to the beach, practice mediation and yoga.
What is a health coach? A healthy habits coach uses knowledge, training and education in nutrition and wellness to help you address a variety of health concerns.