Spaghetti Squash Calories & NutrientsBy
The spaghetti squash, or Cucurbito pepo, is a type of seed-bearing winter squash. It is pale ivory or yellow, round or oblong in shape and mildly flavored with an ivory or deep yellow-colored flesh, depending upon the variety. When cooked, the flesh of the spaghetti squash can be separated into spaghetti-like strands with a fork -- making it a perfect low-calorie, low-carbohydrate substitute for traditional wheat pasta. Though available year-round, it is in-season from early fall through winter, according to the University of Illinois Extension.
The original spaghetti squash vegetable is more oblong in shape and ivory-colored than the newer variety, which is pumpkin-shaped and yellow in color. According to Purdue University, in the late 1980s, an orange spaghetti squash, also known as "Orangetti" was developed in Israel and reached the United States in the early 1990s. This variety is more widely available in supermarkets today and is sweeter and higher in beta-carotene than its pale counterpart. Both varieties are nutrient-rich.
Basic Nutrient Stats
According to ELook.org, 1 cup or 155 g of spaghetti squash, cooked, provides 41 calories, 0 g of fat, 1 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of dietary fiber and 28 mg of sodium. If cut while raw, spaghetti squash may be cubed and prepared like other types of winter squash. One cup, cubed, or 101 g provides 31 calories, 1 g of fat, 1 g of protein, 7 g of carbohydrates, 0 g of fiber and 17 mg of sodium.
Vitamins C and B6
Spaghetti squash contains appreciable amounts of vitamins C and B-6. One cup, cooked, meets less 9 and 7 percent of the recommended daily value or DV for vitamins C and B-6, respectively. Vitamin C is important for promoting a healthy immune system, wound healing, healthy gums and collagen production. Vitamin B-6 helps to form neurotransmitters or chemical messengers in the brain, red blood cells and is needed to break down stored energy, in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles, into glucose or readily available energy for the body's cells.
According to the Worldwide Gourmet, the more orange the flesh of the squash is, the higher its beta-carotene content. Thus, the "Orangetti" spaghetti squash is higher in beta-carotene than traditional spaghetti squash. The total carotenoid content of the orange spaghetti squash is 1.82 mg per 100 g and for the original spaghetti squash; 0.38 mg per 100 g. According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, eating foods rich in beta-carotene many help to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. In addition, beta-carotene offers anti-inflammatory benefits, which may be particularly helpful for conditions such as asthma and arthritis.
One cup of spaghetti squash counts as one vegetable serving. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations for a 2,000 calorie diet are to choose 2.5 cups, or the equivalent, of vegetables daily for optimum health. In addition, spaghetti squash is virtually fat-free, low in calories and carbohydrates, but offers some of the same characteristics of cooked pasta, thus, it may be cooked and served with a tomato sauce. Because it is low in calories, using spaghetti squash in place of pasta may offer benefit to individuals on a weight control program.