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Is squash keto-friendly? Let me answer this question for you to clear things up and so you can know if you should include it in your diet.
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Is Squash Keto-Friendly? Question Answered
What Is Squash?
Before I answer the question “Is squash keto-friendly?” let me give you a little background about the vegetable. Squash is a flowering plant usually cultivated for livestock feed. People typically cook the plant’s fruit, and its blossoms and seeds are eaten, too. Squash is a native American word meaning eaten raw or uncooked. There are several types, such as the following:
Squash Is Keto-Friendly and Rich in Nutrients
You may be wondering if squash is keto-friendly because it’s very starchy. Spaghetti squash, for example, mimics noodles as it has the same texture. So, is spaghetti squash keto-friendly? When you cook spaghetti squash or combine it with other ingredients, its texture and its starchy flavors might make you think it’s not keto-friendly, but it actually is. The same goes for the other types. A serving of 100 g of squash has the following nutritional values:
- 3 g of carbs
- 2 g of sugar
- 1 g of fiber
- 1 g of protein
Squash is also low in glycemic load, which is the estimated number of how much a type of food raises a person’s blood sugar after eating. It's loaded with the following nutrients as well:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
I want to highlight several health benefits of a few of these nutrients to give you some idea. Vitamin C, for example, is present in many herbs and fruits and plays a huge role in your immune system. It promotes white blood cell production that aids the body in protecting against infections. The vitamin also helps in the proper functioning of these white blood cells while protecting them from free radicals. Further, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the skin that strengthens skin barriers.
Potassium is also another thing I want to highlight. It is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and is present in many other foods like dried oregano, sliced asparagus, cabbage, celery, or radishes. Potassium is mostly present in your muscle, red blood, liver, and bones cells where it functions as an electrolyte inside these cells. This allows proper muscle contractions, nerve signals, and fluid balance.
At this point, let me explain why these nutrients are important in your ketogenic diet and what happens to these nutrients when you’re on keto. That way you have a clear understanding of why squash is a great addition to your delicious and nutritious keto recipes.
Increasing Vitamin C Is Essential When Blood Sugar Is High
The keto diet promotes low-carb intake because it encourages using fat as a source of fuel rather than sugar. Vitamin C competes with glucose in accessing the same metabolic pathways in your body. So if your carb intake is high from your daily calories, you also need to increase your supply of Vitamin C to overcome high glucose levels.
Vitamin A May Help Lower Risks of Diabetes
Vitamin A has no direct effect on keto, but it plays an essential role in the many functions of the body, such as your vision. There is one function of this vitamin that may help lower the risk of developing blood sugar-related diseases like diabetes. The vitamin is a potent antioxidant that fights free radicals, which create oxidative stress. Oxidative damage is linked to several chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer.
Magnesium and Potassium May Decrease Due to the Keto Flu
In the first few weeks of the ketogenic diet for weight loss, you may experience keto flu symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, and drowsiness. The keto flu happens because your body goes through a metabolic shift from using sugar to fat as fuel. You may lose a lot of water as a sign of the keto flu, which also means you may experience a drop in magnesium and potassium levels considering they are electrolytes. This is why eating keto foods with magnesium and potassium is essential when on the keto diet.
Manganese Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar
Manganese may have an essential role in regulating blood glucose. It is concentrated in the pancreas, where insulin is produced, as it is involved in insulin production. This also means it can aid in the proper insulin secretion, which may help stabilize blood glucose.
Eating Increases Insulin Levels
I want to highlight one thing because I see this a lot. There are people who consume food, including squash with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, and then re-check their keto strips. They get upset with the results because their ketone levels went down.
What you have to realize is this: Every time you eat something, it is going to spike insulin a little bit, except if you are consuming medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil or pure fat because these don't have any effect on the hormone. The fact that you’re eating, in general, stimulates insulin, and the hormone knocks you out of ketosis. As long as you are eating the correct foods, avoiding sugars, and seeing the benefits of the ketogenic plan, you should not worry about your meals lowering your ketones because you are eventually going to spike insulin just by eating.
Now that I’ve answered the question, “Is squash keto-friendly?” you have even more reasons to add this vegetable to your meals. Squash is equally important as other healthy ingredients or keto foods low in net carbs primarily because of the beneficial nutrients it contains. You can bake it with sausage, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, cream, or make some soup out of it with your favorite garnish. Start exploring how you can be creative in preparing your meals with squash now!
What keto squash recipes can you share with us? Tell us in the comments section below!
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.