Butternut Squash, Raw

ORAC Value:
μ mol TE/100g.

The antioxidant value of Butternut Squash, Raw described in ORAC units is: 396 μ mol TE/100g.


Thought to have originated from Central or South America, the genus of plants known as Cucurbita is responsible for not just the various types of squash, but also pumpkins. Is butternut squash healthy? Given its bright orange color, many assume it must be rich in beta carotene (vitamin A) and other antioxidants. The ORAC test results prove only half of that is true.

The common belief that winter squash is high in vitamin A is correct. Inside 100 grams of it, even after it is cooked or baked, is the equivalent of 223% of your daily value of vitamin A. That's 11,115 IU's.

The part of the assumption that's wrong is how much antioxidants butternut squash has, in total. Yes, it's high in beta carotene, but low in others. How low? Well this ORAC value of 396 is even less than iceberg lettuce. Though obviously, it would be easier to eat 3.5 ounces of this yummy orange vegetable than it would be to eat iceberg, especially since the latter weighs so very little (meaning 3.5 ounces would be a huge salad).

Since it is a starch, it may not be good for you if you are dieting. Or more appropriately said - it's good for you - but a better choice would be zucchini and summer squash, which are non-starchy. Because you can't say butternut is bad for you when 1 cup of it cubed (about 7 ounces) is only 82 calories, 22 grams of carbs (7% of daily value), and just 4 grams of sugar. So relative to most other foods, squash can be a very nutritious ingredient to use in your dishes to keep them filing, yet low calorie at the same time.

ORAC Source

USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010