Acorn squash: you can bake it, mash it, or make a soup out of it. And your taste buds aren't the only ones who benefit—your heart has much to gain, as well. Here are three heart-healthy reasons to dig into this winter vegetable and two delicious ways to cook it.
1. Lower Bad Cholesterol
Bad cholesterol, often referred to as LDL, collects in your arteries and the lining of your blood vessels. Too much LDL leads to hardening of the arteries, which can result in a stroke or heart attack.
Decrease your LDL while improving your HDL, or healthy cholesterol, with acorn squash. This winter vegetable is loaded with dietary fiber, which is integral in maintaining high levels of healthy cholesterol, according to R. Morgan Griffin with WebMD.
2. Prevent Heart Disease
Heart disease includes stroke, congestive heart failure and a slew of other potentially fatal heart-related issues. Not to mention it's the leading cause of death, in both men and women, in the U.S. It's responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thanks to high levels of cucurbitacin, a natural anti-inflammatory found in acorn squash, you could reduce your risk for any form of heart disease
There are also a number of specific vitamins and nutrients in acorn squash that keep your heart ticking and free of disease: specifically vitamin B and folate. Both of these have been linked to a decrease in heart failure for men and a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease for women.
Other heart-healthy acorn squash nutrients include the antioxidant beta-carotene, which works to reduce your risk of a stroke.