Diabetes Diet: Health Benefits of Acorn Squash Plus A Recipe

The green, heavily ridged acorn squash is plentiful in the marketplace this time of year. Though it has a high glycemic index rank of 75, eaten in moderation acorn squash provides a slew of nutrients beneficial for people with diabetes.

Acorn's Attributes

One of the primary components of acorn squash is dietary fiber. A single serving contains nine fiber grams, more than a third of our daily requirement. Fiber is especially helpful for those with type 2 diabetes since it slows digestion and helps maintain stable glucose levels.

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The nutrients in acorn squash benefit three other diabetes concerns as well:

  • Acorn squash is an excellent source of vitamin C, so vital for our immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells, and functions as an antioxidant, protecting us from the onset of problems such as cardiovascular disease.
  • The high levels of vitamin A and beta carotene in acorn squash support our eyes’ health, helping to prevent vision problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • We need an adequate intake of potassium to maintain normal blood pressure, and acorn squash provides plenty of this mineral; plus, the magnesium in acorn squash helps our body effectively utilize potassium.

Acorn squash also contains a mix of minerals for strong bones, its vitamin A promotes vibrant skin, and the antioxidants neutralize cell damaging free radicals associated with premature aging, and various illnesses.

Acorn Squash With Moroccan Couscous

One way to enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits of acorn squash is to bake it with a few veggies, spices, herbs—and some couscous.

The prep time for this recipe could be anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on your mincing, measuring, and mixing skills.

You will need:

  • 1 medium acorn squash, halved, seeds removed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, minced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups low-fat, reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet; roast about 35 to 40 minutes, until tender.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic and onion; saute for 3 minutes. Then, add the celery and carrots; saute for 4 minutes. Next, stir in the cumin and red pepper. Finally, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the couscous and raisins, cover the skillet, and turn off the heat. Let the mixture stand about 5 minutes. Add parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fluff couscous with a fork, and keep it warm.
  4. Turn the roasted squash cut side up and season with salt and pepper. Cut each squash half in half, and top the quarters with couscous; serve.

Serving size: 1/4 squash plus 1 1/4 cup couscous: 290 calories, 4g fat, 61g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 18g sugar, 9g protein, 335mg sodium (w/out added salt). Choices: starch 2.5, fruit 1.

Source: American Diabetes Association/Diabetes Forecast, Live Strong
Photo: Pixabay

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